For the best photos from before and during the match, scroll to 'Photostream' on the box above left
Jermain Defoe scored his sixth goal of the season as Tottenham Hotspur came from behind to beat Queens Park Rangers and register their first home Barclays Premier League win under Andre Villas-Boas. After a disappointing first half during which they trailed to Bobby Zamora’s goal, Villas-Boas’s team turned things around after the break, with Defoe's strike and an own-goal from Alejandro Faurlin.
Zamora, who scored one goal in 18 appearances at Spurs, put QPR ahead in the first half after Faurlin's slide-rule pass, and had it not been for a couple of reaction saves from Brad Friedel, Tottenham could have gone in 3-0 down at half-time. The home team regrouped after the break with Gareth Bale, who had started at full-back, pushed up to the left wing. Faurlin chested the ball into his own net at the back post from a Steven Caulker header and, less than two minutes later, Defoe scored the winner after coolly finishing from 10 yards. Spurs had conceded in the latter stages of all their previous games, but they held firm this evening to leave Villas-Boas punching the air with glee at the final whistle.
The slippery surface made it hard for Spurs to pass the ball around in the early stages, but they fashioned a chance in the third minute when Aaron Lennon found Defoe at the near post but his shot was blocked. QPR quickly settled into their rhythm and started pushing for an opener from the off. Friedel, recalled to the starting XI ahead of Hugo Lloris, who had started Thursday’s Europa League tie against Lazio, saved well to deny Clint Hill after four minutes.
Nine minutes later the American again was called into action by a Junior Hoilett shot from 10 yards. QPR's fourth corner of the game allowed Ryan Nelsen to sneak in front of his marker, but he headed wide. Spurs did get the ball in the net, but Clint Dempsey's effort was ruled out after Defoe was given offside in the build-up.
The opening goal came just after the half hour when Faurlin found Zamora, who slotted the ball past the advancing Friedel. The Spurs goalkeeper was at full stretch moments later to deny Hoilett as Rangers pushed for a second.
At half-time Villas-Boas brought on Caulker for Gylfi Sigurdsson, which allowed Bale to move farther up. Hoilett bustled the defender off the ball and fired at goal but William Gallas put in a crucial block. Caulker proved his worth at the other end by putting in a powerful header from a Bale corner that was cleared off the line.
The game then changed completely with two Spurs goals in 95 seconds. First Caulker's header from the back post flew in off the chest of Faurlin and Defoe made it 2-0 with a cool finish. Vertonghen charged at the Rangers defence and laid the ball off to Bale, whose shot ricocheted into the path of the England striker, who calmly slotted the ball home.
This lifted Tottenham's confidence. Dempsey fired a 20-yard shot just wide of Julio Cesar's goal and Bale's powerful cross somehow missed a tap-in. QPR still threatened and Hoilett wriggled free but Vertonghen’s sliding tackle dispossesses the winger just as a goal looked likely.
The match became an end-to-end encounter. QPR threatened through Hoilett and substitute Djibril Cisse, while Spurs still poured forward looking for a third. They almost got it when Dempsey and Defoe had close-range headers blocked.
QPR poured forward in injury time looking for an equaliser but the nearest they came was a curled shot from Faurlin that went a yard wide. Defoe almost added his second when he raced through in the last minute of added time but Julio Cesar saved well to his right.
|29 Sep 2012||v Man Utd (A)|
|07 Oct 2012||v Aston Villa (H)|
|20 Oct 2012||v Chelsea (H)|
|28 Oct 2012||v Southampton (A)|
|03 Nov 2012||v Wigan (H)|
|11 Nov 2012||v Man City (A)|