Football: Spurs find a hero

Tottenham Hotspur 1 Calderwood 45 Derby County 0 Attendance: 25 ,886
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The Independent Online
Despite the mass of foreign talent on view in the Premiership, none has made more immediate impact than the 23-year-old Jose Dominguez, Spurs' new signing. The diminutive Portuguese playmaker bewitched Derby County and the whole of White Hart Lane with his first touch of the ball, and had the crowd gasping at his pace, power and outrageous ball skills.

Before Dominguez's arrival in the 35th minute as a replacement for the disappointing David Ginola, Derby had looked the better side. Their passing game was working well and Ashley Ward and Deon Burton, fed mainly by Stefano Eranio, were creating dangerous opportunities. By contrast, Spurs seemed disjointed and uneasy until Ginola left clutching his shoulder.

Dominguez, who boasts a low centre of gravity, outstanding ball control and a gymnast's sense of balance and bounce, instantly provided the cutting edge which Ginola had failed to deliver. He had a shot narrowly wide in his first minute, provided an easy chance which Steffen Iversen inexplicably missed in his ninth and was hacked down by Lee Carsley just outside the area on the stroke of half-time. Andy Sinton floated in the resulting free-kick for Colin Calderwood to head home as he came on a late run. Dominguez one, Derby County nil.

In the second half, Derby wilted in the humidity and their manager Jim Smith bemoaned their inability to take their first-half chances. "We had a lot of possession but no cutting edge," he said. "If we had gone in front, as we should have, then we would have stayed in front."

Meanwhile, the Dominguez show continued unabated with a series of jinking runs at goal, which left the Derby defenders floundering. His bravura display included a breathtaking drag-back to pass Carsley, and culminated when he provoked Igor Stimac to bring him down in the area, only for David Howells to blast the penalty over. Spurs manager, Gerry Francis, was full of praise for Dominguez's skills, saying: "I'm very pleased for `Joe'. He came from Sporting Lisbon without much publicity, but today he took the game by the scruff of the neck and changed it for us. Some of his skills remind me of Johann Cruyff and I knew what he could do."