December 5 2013 Latest news:
By Ben Pearce at Selhurst Park
Sunday, August 18, 2013
Premier League: Crystal Palace 0 Tottenham 1
Roberto Soldado scored a penalty on his Premier League debut as Tottenham kicked off their campaign with a victory over their newly-promoted London rivals Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
Spurs’ record signing had netted a spot-kick in his first outing for the Lilywhites the previous weekend, hitting the mark in the final friendly against Espanyol at White Hart Lane – and he repeated the feat today.
The Lilywhites were awarded their first penalty in the Premier League since May 2012 as Aaron Lennon’s cross struck Dean Moxey’s arm shortly after half-time, and Soldado beat Julian Speroni to register the only goal of the game.
Palace named summer signing Dwight Gayle – who started last season in League Two - in their starting line-up, while new recruits Neil Alexander, Jose Campana, Florian Marange and Marouane Chamakh took their places on the bench.
Meanwhile, Jan Vertonghen was a surprise starter for Tottenham as he returned from injury, and Andre Villas-Boas selected new boys Paulinho, Nacer Chadli and Soldado in his team, while Etienne Capoue was named among the substitutes.
The two sides emerged flanked by cheerleaders, while an eagle carrying the Palace colours soared from one end of the pitch to the other.
And, buoyed by the rapturous home crowd, the hosts made up for a lack of possession with a predictably dilligent work-rate, closing Tottenham down energetically.
Spurs were dominant but only created half-chances in the opening 20 minutes, with Soldado heading over from Rose’s cross, Mousa Dembele firing just over from 25 yards and Soldado flicking Gylfi Sigurdsson’s inswinging free-kick over the bar.
Palace were struggling to test Hugo Lloris but they recorded their first effort on target in the 27th minute as Aaron Wilbrahim headed at the Frenchman from a free-kick.
Speroni was then forced into real action for the first time as Sigurdsson rode a challenge on the edge of the box, turned and whipped the ball over the Eagles keeper, who leapt to claw it over the bar.
Tottenham’s best route to goal looked like being the pace of Aaron Lennon, who got in behind the defence on three occasions in the opening 40 minutes – but his final ball was poor on each occasion.
That changed right at the end of the first half as the winger delivered a perfect arcing delivery to the back post, and Chadli leapt above his marker inside the six-yard box but headed wastefully over.
It was also Lennon who produced the breakthrough in the 50th minute as his cross was blocked by Moxey’s hand at close range and referee Mark Clattenburg pointed to the spot, with Soldado making no mistake with the penalty.
Villas-Boas made his first change shortly afterwards, with Capoue appearing for his debut, and Holloway made all three of his substitutions in the 65th minute, introducing Jonny Williams, Kevin Phillips and Chamakh.
Spurs had a golden opportunity to make it 2-0 as Kyle Walker came inside and fed Soldado, who cut the ball back inside to Sigurdsson, but the Iceland international sent his first-time shot agonisingly wide of the bottom left corner.
At the other end, Palace were threatening as Gayle and Phillips got in behind, but each time Lloris was quickly off his line to avert the danger.
The game was surprisingly stretched, given that Tottenham were defending the lead, and Chadli dinked a cross onto the roof of the net at one end while Phillips dragged a 25-yard effort wide at the other.
Palace continued to threaten and, when Lloris fumbled a corner, Damien Delaney unleashed a low volley – but Spurs’ goalkeeper got down to block his effort.
Spurs had also not given up on a second goal, and Chadli crossed low for Sigurdsson, whose first-time effort was blocked by a defender. Substitute Jermain Defoe then embarked on a fine run, driving into the box but scewing his shot wide.
There was still time for Palace to create one more big chance as Phillips nodded the ball down to Kagisho Dikgacoi, who unleashed a powerful low strike, drawing a crucial, matchwinning save from Lloris.
Crystal Palace: Speroni, Ward, Dikgacoi, Garvan (Chamakh 66), Dobbie (Williams 66), Jedinak, Gayle, Wilbraham (Phillips 66), Gabbidon, Moxey, Delaney.
Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Rose (Kaboul 86), Paulinho, Dembele (Capoue 57), Lennon, Sigurdsson, Chadli, Soldado (Defoe 83).