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Roberto Soldado scored the winning goal on his debut to secure an opening day 1-0 victory for Tottenham Hotspur against Crystal Palace. The Spain striker made no mistake from the penalty spot early in the second half after Dean Moxey had handled a cross from Aaron Lennon inside the area. Soldado sent Julian Speroni the wrong way to claim his first competitive goal in a Spurs shirt and give Andre Villas-Boas' side the perfect start to the season.
As well as Soldado, the Spurs head coach named two of his other new signings - Nacer Chadli and Paulinho - in the starting line-up while Etienne Capoue had to settle for a place on the substitutes’ bench. Marouane Chamakh, signed from Arsenal a week ago, was not deemed fit enough to start by Palace manager Ian Holloway so was named of the bench with new signings Dwight Gayle and Stephen Dobbie given the job of leading the line alongside Aaron Wilbraham.
A frantic opening 10 minutes had chances at a premium, and when the first effort on goal arrived in the 13th minute, the frame of the goal denied Mousa Dembele. Aaron Lennon combined neatly with the Belgian but his 25-yard strike clipped the top of the crossbar on its way over.
Gylfi Sigurdsson brought the first save from Julian Speroni in the closing 10 minutes of the half with Lennon again involved as he found the Iceland midfielder on the edge of the penalty area with his back to goal. He turned away from the Palace defence but his right-footed shot was well tipped over by the Palace goalkeeper.
After a frustrating opening period the visitors broke the deadlock early in the second half after Moxey's handball was punished by referee Mark Clattenburg.Soldado immediately collected the ball and confidently converted the spot-kick to get his Spurs career off to a scoring start.
The visitors should have doubled their lead in the 69th minute after excellent build-up play between Kyle Walker and Soldado. The England full-back rolled a perfect pass into the Spaniard’s stride, and his pull-back to Sigurdsson gave the Icelander a clear sight of goal, but he dragged his shot wide.
Chamakh and Kevin Phillips were introduced late in the game by the hosts but neither was able to find a way through a resolute Tottenham defence, and Kagisho Dikgacoi was denied by superbly by an onrushing Hugo Lloris in the dying moments to preserve Spurs' three points.
Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway: "I'm a bit disappointed, to be honest, we normally play a bit quicker and sharper than that with the ball. I was disappointed with our movement and our passing. The honeymoon period is over and the lads have to start believing in themselves.
"We need to learn quickly. We need to counter attack quicker and sharper than we did. We've got to get used to where we are and we've got to deal with it, when we had the ball we didn't do enough with it. At the moment with this group I might have to defend my way to victory. We need some more pace up front."
"Chamakh should be able to train next week and [Jose] Campana will have another week. We should be in a much better scenario next week."
Spurs head coach Andre Villas-Boas: "[It was] a good performance. There's always a surprise factor to Palace because of the amount of signings that they have brought [in] and the fact that we don't know them as well as the other teams so I'm extremely happy with the performance.
"We had good chances during the whole of the 90 minutes, chances to put the game to bed when we were 1-0 up, so I can only be pleased with the performance. Overall we were the deserved winners. Most of the [new signings] arrived at a later stage [of pre-season], particularly Soldado and Paulinho.
"We can only see them develop towards the future. Bearing in mind for all of them the Premier League is a different proposition in terms of intensity and passion they did extremely well."
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