Defoe gives Spurs an early leaving present in victory over Crystal Palace
17:15 11 January 2014
Premier League: Tottenham 2 Crystal Palace 0
Toronto-bound Jermain Defoe came off the bench to ensure Tottenham’s fourth win from five Premier League games.
Defoe will move to the MLS at the end of February and he was greeted by a rapturous reception at White Hart Lane when he replaced Roberto Soldado in the 58th minute.
Fourteen minutes later the England forward has found the net and doubled Spurs’ lead, following Christian Eriksen’s opener, as the Lilywhites maintained their fine run of league form under Tim Sherwood.
Sherwood named the same side that had lined up against Arsenal in the FA Cup last weekend, while Palace boss Tony Pulis made five changes to his team, bringing Joel Ward, captain Mile Jedinak, Jason Puncheon, Cameron Jerome and Marouane Chamakh back into his XI.
The visitors started very brightly and, with less than a minute gone, Cameron Jerome was denied a run on goal by an offside side – which looked like the wrong call – while Jason Puncheon shot wide.
Palace went on to win a seventh-minute penalty as Vlad Chiriches lost the ball in opposition territory, leaving Spurs exposed on the break, and Mousa Dembele felled Marouane Chamakh in the box. Fortunately for Spurs,Puncheon’s effort was woefully high and wide.
Pulis’ side continued to pose a danger, with Jerome testing Hugo Lloris with a first-time 20-yard snapshot.
And, although Emmanuel Adebayor then threw himself at Aaron Lennon’s cross, sending a header wide of goal, Puncheon saw a low effort deflected wide – and, from the following corner, Lloris had to save from Mile Jedinak at close range.
Bentaleb then went desperately close on his full Premier League debut as his 25-yard shot hit the left-hand post and bounced along the goalline, rolling wide of the other upright – but Pulis would have been the happier manager at the break.
It turned out to be a classic game of two halves, because Spurs were much improved immediately after the interval.
Adebayor’s hold-up play was noticeably better, and Soldado was also stronger, helping to create a chance for Eriksen, who slalomed his way across the box before seeing his shot deflected just wide off Damien Delaney.
Moments later, substitute Kyle Naughton launched a long ball towards Adebayor, and he beat two men to the ball, flicking it into the path of Eriksen, who ran in behind and finished with aplomb.
Defoe then entered the fray in place of Soldado, and he sent a range-finder just across goal before hitting the net in the 72nd minute.
Receiving a pass from Lennon in the box, the England man turned past Jonathan Parr before beating Speroni to put Tottenham out of sight.
Tottenham: Lloris, Walker (Naughton 48), Dawson, Chiriches, Rose, Lennon, Dembele, Bentaleb, Eriksen (Chadli 75), Soldado (Defoe 56), Adebayor
Crystal Palace: Speroni, Mariappa, Gabbidon, Delaney, Parr, Puncheon, Ward, Jedinak, Bolasie (Williams 68), Chamakh, Jerome (Gayle 68)