- Spurs vs Crystal Palace

Saturday 11 January 2014 | White Hart Lane | Referee: Michael Oliver | Attendance 36,102

Spurs
  • Christian Eriksen (50)
  • Jermain Defoe (72)
Spurs
2 - 0
Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace

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Match report

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Jermain Defoe began his month-long Tottenham Hotspur farewell with a first Barclays Premier League goal this season in the 2-0 win over Crystal Palace.

The England striker's February move to MLS side Toronto FC was confirmed on Friday, and he was greeted warmly by the White Hart Lane faithful before finding a typically assured finish to secure a fourth victory in five unbeaten league outings under new boss Tim Sherwood.

It might have been a very different story had Jason Puncheon not missed from the penalty spot in a first half that Palace dominated, their front two of Marouane Chamakh and Cameron Jerome providing a constant threat.

Christian Eriksen's third goal in four league matches settled the nerves of the home fans, who were then able to salute their soon-to-be-departed striker.

Sherwood named an unchanged Tottenham Hotspur XI, while Jonathan Parr started at left-back for Palace, allowing Joel Ward to revert to midfield in Kagisho Dikgacoi's absence.

Spurs were caught cold by a fast start from their visitors, who should have taken the lead in the eighth minute. Mousa Dembele clattered through Chamakh after Damien Delaney had unpicked the home defence with staggering ease, the Lilywhites midfielder conceding a clear penalty, only for Puncheon – who almost fell over after colliding with referee Michael Oliver when pacing out his run-up – to blaze high and wide.

Palace again sabotaged their impressive work when Chamakh rose unchallenged to meet Puncheon's right-wing corner. The former Arsenal man looked destined to score until team-mate Mile Jedinak clattered into his back and the resulting header looped over.

Chamakh was frustrated by the presence of one of his colleagues once more as Spurs flailed under another set-piece delivery, Yannick Bolasie inadvertently blocking his goalbound volley.

Nabil Bentaleb, making his first Barclays Premier League start in midfield for Tottenham, then rattled the inside of the post with a blistering 34th-minute drive that then flashed agonisingly across the goalmouth – the closest Sherwood's men came in a half in which they were second best.

That was certainly not the case when the action resumed as Bentaleb's midfield colleague Eriksen shook off an anonymous opening 45 minutes to give his side a 50th-minute lead.

Two minutes earlier a combination of Delaney and Parr had scrambled clear when Eriksen caused panic in the Palace area with a weaving run, but they could do nothing to thwart the Danish playmaker when Emmanuel Adebayor's flick from Kyle Naughton's ball dropped for him to lash left footed into the roof of the net.

Defoe was afforded a rapturous reception upon his 58th-minute introduction for Roberto Soldado – Sherwood's second change of the half after Kyle Walker had limped off to be replaced by Naughton, and the Canada-bound forward made an immediate impact, twisting and turning to thread a shot just beyond the far post, an effort Adebayor agonisingly failed to meet with a decisive touch.

Defoe was not to be denied his goal though, as he evaded Parr's attentions to lift Aaron Lennon's 73rd-minute pass into the net.

Jedinak, substitute Adlene Guedioura and Chamakh all went close in a spirited finish from Palace but the Eagles could not find a way back.

Tottenham Hotspur head coach Tim Sherwood: "Crystal Palace did not look like a team who are struggling at the bottom of the league. They might sit but it was the opposite and they should have been ahead at half-time.

"They looked like they played with more desire which we spoke about at the half-time. We have a group of lads who are very talented but unless you marry that with desire you won't get the results. If you don't show desire your ability counts for nothing. Second half we picked that up.

"We took it to the opposition after the break. It was a typical Jermain Defoe finish. He's pounced on it and stuck. I'll be sorry to lose Jermain. Toronto are getting a fine goalscorer. I don't think there are many better goalscorers than Jermain out there."

Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis: to follow

Fan Rating

- rate the player performances for this match

Line-up All Fans BFR
25. Hugo Lloris 5.82 5.66
6. Vlad Chiriches 3.78 4.76
2. Kyle Walker 4.25 5.09
20. Michael Dawson 4.13 4.65
3. Danny Rose 4.13 5.09
19. Mousa Dembélé 5.71 5.08
7. Aaron Lennon 5.57 4.76
42. Nabil Bentaleb 5.38 4.72
23. Christian Eriksen 7.0 6.18
10. Emmanuel Adebayor 6.11 6.4
9. Roberto Soldado 4.25 5.21
Substitutes All Fans BFR
15. Etienne Capoue 0.0 4.31
21. Nacer Chadli 0.0 4.6
18. Jermain Defoe 9.2 4.72
16. Kyle Naughton 3.0 3.54
24. Brad Friedel 0.0 3.63
35. Ezekiel Fryers 6.0 3.15
14. Lewis Holtby 3.5 4.36
Line-up All Fans BFR
1. Julian Speroni 5.0 5.46
19. Daniel Gabbidon 6.0 4.68
3. Adrian Mariappa 6.0 4.17
27. Damien Delaney 6.0 4.57
4. Jonathan Parr 6.0 4.82
15. Mile Jedinak 6.0 5.53
2. Joel Ward 6.0 5.1
13. Jason Puncheon 6.0 5.27
7. Yannick Bolasie 6.0 4.95
30. Cameron Jerome 6.0 4.26
29. Marouane Chamakh 6.0 5.72
Substitutes All Fans BFR
31. Adlène Guédioura 0.0 3.94
12. Stuart O'Keefe 0.0 4.46
21. Dean Moxey 0.0 4.73
20. Jonathan Williams 0.0 4.92
16. Dwight Gayle 5.0 5.27
34. Lewis Price 0.0 2.46
46. Barry Bannan 0.0 4.47

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