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Andre Villas-Boas hails free-kick maestro Gareth Bale

Tottenham manager delighted by Bale's matchwinning display in Europa League; Chelsea also win

Tottenham's Gareth Bale scores his second free-kick against Lyon at White Hart Lane

Andre Villas-Boas heaped praise on Gareth Bale on Thursday night after the Welshman earned Tottenham Hotspur a 2-1 UEFA Europa League round-of-32, first-leg win over Lyon.

Bale scored two free-kicks, the last of which came in the 90th minute.

The 22-year-old put the hosts ahead on the stroke of half-time with a thunderous effort from 35 yards and, after Samuel Umtiti had levelled from the edge of the penalty 10 minutes after the restart with a spectacular half-volley, Bale scored the winner in injury time.

Villas-Boas said: "Today we saw not only two great moments but three, because their goal was absolutely fantastic too. Gareth [Bale] was fantastic."

Elsewhere, Chelsea take a 1-0 lead for their second leg against Sparta Prague at Stamford Bridge after Brazil international Oscar scored a late winner in the Czech Republic.

Newcastle had two goals disallowed as they drew 0-0 at home to Metalist Kharkiv, while Liverpool face a tough task to qualify after losing 2-0 away from home against Russian side Zenit St Petersburg.

Key Points

  • Gareth Bale scores two free-kicks to earn Tottenham a 2-1 UEFA Europa League last-32, first-leg win over Ligue 1 side Lyon
  • Chelsea also manage a narrow victory at Sparta Prague thanks to Oscar's late strike
  • Liverpool suffer 2-0 defeat at Zenit St Petersburg while Newcastle held 0-0 at home by Metalist Kharkiv