Premier League - Goal-line row as Spurs win

Eurosport - Sat, 21 Aug 16:56:00 2010

Gareth Bale scored twice as Tottenham Hotspur grabbed a controversial 2-1 win at Stoke City to leave the Potters with no points from two Premier League matches.

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The Wales star, playing on the left wing, scored a freak goal to put Spurs ahead before Ricardo Fuller levelled.

Bale put his side back in front, this time with a spectacular volley, as all three goals came in the first half.

But there was a dramatic finish as, in the last minute, debutant Jonathan Walters saw his effort cleared by Peter Crouch - apparently from behind the goal-line.

The defeat will ring alarm bells for Stoke, who lost to Wolves on the opening day.

Miss a Match? We didn't

Stoke 1 Tottenham 2

Spurs made five changes from the side that lost 3-2 to Young Boys in their Europa League play-off first leg, although four were injury-related as forward trio Jermain Defoe, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Robbie Keane were joined by midfielder Luka Modric on the sidelines.

But the benching of Sebastien Bassong - who scored but played dreadfully in Switzerland - and the continued absences of crocked fellow defenders Ledley King and Jonathan Woodgate showed why boss Harry Redknapp swooped for William Gallas, who did not play after completing his free transfer on Friday.

Stoke, meanwhile, were missing record signing Kenwyne Jones and boss Tony Pulis again opted to leave the increasingly frustrated Tuncay on the bench as new signing Walters was given a surprise debut start.

An entertaining first half played to type, as Stoke went direct and Spurs largely kept the ball on the ground.

Spurs wide midfielders Bale and Aaron Lennon particularly impressed, and they combined to draw first blood on 19 minutes, as a brilliant run inside from the left by Lennon was capped off with a clipped diagonal pass to Bale.

What followed was comic, as Bale’s weak shot was saved by Thomas Sorensen. The ball spun into the air, Peter Crouch headed it goalwards, Ryan Shawcross cleared it off the line but unwittingly sent it into the net off the face of Bale.

Stoke rallied and levelled six minutes later after some poor defending by Spurs. Etherington’s corner was well aimed at the far post but Younes Kaboul’s attempted clearance was derisory, and Tom Huddlestone’s marking of Fuller non-existent as the Jamaican poked him.

Parity did not last long, as five minutes later Bale restored Spurs’ lead with a beautiful left-foot volley that spun inside the angle of crossbar and far post, again after good work and an incisive cross by Lennon on the opposite flank.

Spurs were largely in control for the rest of the half, although Stoke should have equalised when Fuller expertly turned beyond another weak challenge from Kaboul but could only fire straight at Heurelho Gomes.

On the stroke of half-time Spurs were unfortunate not to extend their lead, with Bale again involved as his low cross to Jermaine Jenas was somehow not bundled into the net, the ball coming off the returning midfielder’s heel into the arms of the grateful Sorensen.

While the first half was entertaining and eventful, the second was a turgid affair, descending into dross as Stoke pumped long balls into Spurs box that Redknapp’s side resisted with some comfort.

The game needed the introduction of Tuncay, finally brought on for Whelan on 64 minutes.

With his first touch the Turk turned and shot from range to force a good save from Gomes, heading the subsequent corner inches wide and making Gomes save again from the next attack.

Stoke were a different side, as Shawcross fired over after Gomes flapped at a corner, while Tuncay headed an Etherington cross over the bar and almost nicked the ball past Gomes after taking it on the chest.

Spurs were riding their luck and needed a smart save from Gomes with six minutes left after Fuller was found but a good low ball from Walters, while Shawcross headed over from a corner.

But the real drama came in the final minute of normal time. Etherington sent a corner deep to the far post, which looped in the air off Collins and was tipped on to the bar by Gomes.

Walters flung himself at the ball with a diving header and, with Crouch’s chest seemingly a yard behind the line when it batted out the finish, referee Chris Foy waved play on.

Stoke were apoplectic, with protests continuing for several minutes afterwards which - combined with a serious-looking injury to Stoke substitute Mamady Sidibe - led to seven minutes added time.

The hosts flung everything forward but Spurs resisted the onslaught to hold on for a win that puts them fifth for now and leaves Stoke with a group of four clubs currently without a point.

Reda Maher / Eurosport

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