Bent hat-trick continues Spurs revival

Tottenham Hotspur 4 Dinamo Zagreb 0
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The Independent Football

Darren Bent grabbed a hat-trick against Dinamo Zagreb as Tottenham's revival under Harry Redknapp continued with Uefa Cup victory at White Hart Lane tonight.

Tom Huddlestone had a hand in all of Bent's goals and added a stunner himself with a volley straight out of the Paul Scholes text book, meeting a corner first time as the Manchester United midfielder famously did eight years ago at Bradford.

Spurs have three wins and the morale-boosting draw against Arsenal since Redknapp's appointment as boss - but unlike their last two results they were not made to wait until stoppage-time to seal this result.

There was even time to blood youngster John Bostock, who came on as a substitute with 12 minutes left to become the youngest player to feature for Spurs.

There was trouble in the stands between visiting fans, but little could dampen the mood in the Spurs camp as they look to turn their season around.

Luka Modric was meant to take centre stage against the club he left in the summer for £16.5million - but it was Bent who stole the limelight.

Bent moved from Charlton at the start of the last season for the same fee as Modric, his chances limited by the partnership of Dimitar Berbatov and Robbie Keane.

With both strikers leaving, Bent has now seized his opportunity and has nine goals this season - more than Berbatov and Keane put together.

Spurs should have been ahead before Bent opened the scoring, when Alan Hutton latched on to a flick from David Bentley. The full-back's low cross was met by Igor Biscan, the former Liverpool defender's clearance crashing off the post.

Huddlestone and Modric went close, before ugly scenes in the stands briefly overshadowed the match. Dinamo fans clashed with stewards and police after lighting flares, the resulting smog drifting over the pitch.

The visiting fans were silenced when Bent grabbed the opener on the half-hour mark. Bentley opened the Dinamo defence with a flick down the line; then Modric got the cross over, with Huddlestone jumping over the ball. Bent took a touch and unleashed a finish that went in off Biscan's knee and the underside of the bar.

His second came three minutes later after Dinamo failed to play the ball out of defence. The crowd were urging Huddlestone to shoot, but he spotted Bent free inside the penalty area - and the striker tucked his finish under goalkeeper Ivan Kelava.

Dinamo's problems mounted when Jorge Sammir was forced off for Pedro Morales; then Dejan Lovren was booked before the interval.

They made another change at the break, Oeliton Etto coming on for Dino Drpic - and they looked more attacking and threatening as a result.

Bent had his first sight of a hat-trick when Bentley crossed to the far post, and the finish went wide.

Bentley tried his luck himself from long range, as he did successfully against Arsenal last week, but this time Kelava was alert to his swerving effort.

Kelava also saved from Modric at the near post - but Huddlestone's stunning volley came from the corner. Bentley floated the ball over to his team-mate, who met it first time with a volley that drilled into the bottom corner.

Bent had the ball in the net again, in the 67th minute, but play was called back for offside.

He eventually grabbed his hat-trick with 20 minutes to go. Huddlestone was the supplier, charging through and splitting the Dinamo defence to allow Bent to finish.

Bostock came on for his cameo and almost scored at the near post to cap his debut.