Spurs' Soldado makes Hull pay
28 October 2013, 13:13
London - Roberto Soldado scored his third penalty of the season to earn Tottenham Hotspur a 1-0 victory over Hull City at White Hart Lane on Sunday.
The Spain striker's controversial spot-kick 10 minutes from time got Andre Villas-Boas' side out of jail against Steve Bruce's promoted Tigers, with this victory leaving the north London club fourth in the Premier League table.
Bruce packed the defence with five players to ward off the threat of Andros Townsend and Aaron Lennon on the Spurs flanks.
His tactics were clearly well thought out as the home side found it tricky to carve out any early chances.
Brazilian Paulinho stuck a boot at a deep Lewis Holtby free-kick and England international Townsend was denied from distance by Steve Harper on his first Premier League appearance for the Tigers.
But it wasn't all one-way traffic.
Hull might have been restricted to chances on the counter-attack, but Yannick Sagbo at least made sure they counted when he got his shots away.
Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris denied him and then centre-back Vlad Chiriches cleared an effort off the line as Hull came into the game.
And former Spurs midfielder Tom Huddlestone then came close with a trademark thunderbolt from all of 20-yards.
Spurs appealed for a penalty when Soldado went down following a tussle with Maynor Figueroa.
And the Spaniard was halted again by Harper following a direct run from Townsend who slipped in his team-mate on the edge of the box.
A trio of changes during the second-half when Villas-Boas introduced Mousa Demeble, Christian Eriksen and Jermain Defoe proved to be ineffective.
All three of them will most likely get the chance to go again when these two meet in three' days time in the League Cup.
Last season a piece of magic from Gareth Bale would have likely dug Spurs out of a hole.
Without the world-record Real Madrid singing Spurs are in need of a player to produce something out of nothing.
But in Soldado they have a lethal striker from the penalty spot.
Jan Vertonghen crossed the ball and Ahmed Elmohamady was harshly penalised for handball to concede the foul.
Former Valencia man Soldado then did the business with just 10 minutes left.
There was a worrying moment for Spurs when, in the closing stages, Townsend flipped over the advertising boards and landed in a photographers' dugout.
Play continued while he was off the pitch, with a photographer whom Townsend had inadvertently kicked in the face as he cartwheeled over the boards, also receiving treatment.
But there was relief all round the ground when Townsend, who score don his England debut against Montenegro in a key World Cup qualifier at Wembley earlier this month, returned to the pitch, bandaged but seemingly with no permanent damage done.
This victory maintained Spurs' fight for a Champions League berth even if this latest win was less than convincing.
Hull can take credit from this performance, but the decision by referee Michael Oliver to award a penalty against them is one they won't forget quickly.