Premier League - Tottenham win at Swansea to go third

Premier League, Liberty Stadium – Swansea City 1 (Michu 71) Tottenham Hotspur 2 (Vertonghen 7, Bale 21)

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Premier League - Tottenham win at Swansea to go third
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Tottenham Hotspur's Jan Vertonghen (R) scores a goal against Swansea City during their English Premier League soccer match at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea, March 30, 2013 (Reuters)

Tottenham Hotspur survived a second-half fight back from Swansea to win 2-1 at the Liberty Stadium.

Jan Vertonghen and Gareth Bale were Spurs' first-half heroes as they helped themselves to a goal and assist each to put the visitors 2-0 up after only 21 minutes.

Swansea recovered from their slow start but had to wait until the 71st minute to reduce the deficit as Michu headed home his 20th goal of the season directly from a corner.

Tottenham defended dangerously deep for the remainder of the game – and even Bale had to chip in with a goal-saving tackle – but they arrested their recent poor form with three points, and with Chelsea losing at Southampton moved up to third in the process.

Tottenham took the lead after just seven minutes and while sloppy, unconvincing defending from Swansea saw Vertonghen gather the ball inside the Tottenham half, what followed next was pure class.

The Belgian passed it to Bale and then continued his run to inside the box, Bale then turned and lifted a perfect ball over the top of the Swansea defence; Vertonghen was able to control the ball and flick it past Michel Vorm all in his stride as he showed the type of composure a world-class striker would have been proud of.

Such composure was lacking from Emmanuel Adebayor just five minutes later when he should have made it 2-0. Moussa Dembele showed excellent vision to play the Togo striker through and Adebayor initially did everything right as he burned past Ashley Williams. However, he fluffed his lines when it came to the shot, scuffing an effort that Vorm saved easily.

Spurs continued to look the classier outfit in the early stages and Vertonghen and Bale combined again for number two in the 21sth minute.

This time the Belgian was the provider. He passed low and hard to Bale on the edge of the area and the Premier League's most talked about player then showed why that hype is so justified as he controlled with the right before instantly producing a swerving drive with the outside of his left into the top corner to add another superb goal to his ever-expanding collection.

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Tottenham looked in cruise control but Swansea finally began to get into things as the half went on.

Rather surprisingly it was Dutch left-back Dwight Tiendalli, in for the injured Angel Rangel, who caused the most problems and Nathan Dyer really should have headed home his superb cross in the 35th minute, instead hitting the crossbar and the resulting rebound then stirking him on the head and going wide.

That was Swansea's best chance during an encouraging spell but they went in at the break with it all to do.

The hosts almost got one back early in the second half when they were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the area. Jonathan de Guzman was alert to play it quickly and Michu was all of a sudden clear through but Brad Friedel – in for the injured Hugo Lloris - was one of the few people in the stadium aware of what was happening and he made himself big and made a fine save.

Swansea were dominating possession and Spurs dropped deeper and deeper but it was only when the Welsh side got their goal that it seemed they might get back into the contest

It was Michu again who got the goal as he expertly planted a header into the corner of the net directly from a corner for number 20 in his superb debut season in English football.

The Liberty was once again alive with noise and Spurs were living on their nerves, although Bale and substitute Jermain Defoe both had chances to seal the points on the break.

It was not surprising to see one of the most significant late moments coming from Bale but in an unusual part of the field, as he dived inside the box to block a shot from Dyer.

The two benches also started pointing fingers at each other before the end – seemingly because Spurs were slow to return a ball that had flew into their technical area – somewhat ironic given the incident came at the same venue as Eden Hazard's 'ball-boy gate' kick in the League Cup semi-final.

Ultimately though Tottenham hung on for the points and bounced back from two successive Premier League defeats to get their Champions League ambitious back on track while Swansea, perhaps struggling for motivation after their League Cup success, remain ninth.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Gareth Bale (Tottenham) – The potential player-of-the-year scored one, set-up another and helped out with a crucial bit of defending near the end.

PLAYER RATINGS

SWANSEA CITY: Vorm 7; Tiendalli 8, Chico 6, Williams 5, Davies 7; Britton 5, De Guzman 6, Routledge 5; Dyer 6, Hernandez 5; Michu 7. Subs: Monk 6, Ki 6, Shechter 6

TOTTENHAM: Friedel 7; Walker 7, Vertonghen 8, Dawson 7, Naughton 6; Lennon 7, Dembele 7, Parker 6, Sigurdsson 6; Bale 8; Adebayor 5. Subs: Holtby 5, Defoe 6.

MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY AND MATCH STATS

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