Kaboul's 'stupid' red card takes edge off Spurs' ascent to top four

Tottenham Hotspur 2 Newcastle United

By Matt Butler
Wednesday 29 December 2010 01:00
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As if to prove Sunday was no fluke, Tottenham won with 10 men for the second game in a row to leapfrog Chelsea and lift themselves into fourth place. Aaron Lennon and Gareth Bale scored the goals, but manager Harry Redknapp was less than pleased with Younes Kaboul after he was sent off for headbutting Newcastle's Cheik Tiote.

The manner of the goals were commendable – they both came from sweeping moves from inside Spurs' own half. Bale's, in particular, was worth watching again, as he was put through by Luka Modric after a storming run from the Croatian.

But after battling past Aston Villa minus Jermain Defoe on Boxing Day, they found themselves clinging to a 1-0 lead without Kaboul for the final 25 minutes of this match. And unlike the "harsh" decision handed down to Defoe, Redknapp had no sympathy for his French defender.

"It was stupid of him. It was a lack of discipline and you have got to learn. We were 1-0 up – why did he have to go and get involved in something silly like that? It is an absolute nonsense," Redknapp fumed.

Spurs began confidently and Lennon was at the heart of their early chances. He set up Roman Pavlyuchenko in the 15th minute with a floated pass, which the Russian chested down before shooting to the right of Tim Krul, who did well to dive and keep the ball out.

For all Spurs' enterprise, though, they allowed Andy Carroll, the lone Newcastle striker, a worrying amount of space, and, after he had headed a close-range effort over the bar, a yellow-card tackle from Wilson Palacios just before the break stopped him from breaking clear with only Heurelho Gomes to beat.

Spurs should have gone in at half-time one-up but for Krul's one handed save, which kept out Van der Vaart's header, and a desperately unlucky bounce for Pavlyuchenko, who will no doubt still be wondering just how his effort contrived to strike both posts before bouncing out for central defender Steven Taylor to clear the danger.

After a scrappy beginning to the second half – in which referee Anthony Taylor booked Kaboul, Tiote and Alan Smith in quick succession – Tottenham regained their composure on 56 minutes when a neat passing move put through Lennon, who opened the scoring from 18 yards.

But then Kaboul went head to head – literally – with Tiote, and was handed a straight red card. However, if anything, the sending-off served to galvanise the home side and they sealed the victory 10 minutes from time with a superb goal, which started with Modric's run from outside his own area and culminated with a brilliant finish from Bale.

Newcastle's Alan Pardew, who has not won since his first game in charge, said: "We have three points from three tough games. If they had have been three draws then we would look at them as great results.

"The difference between the two sides was the electric pace Spurs have. You want that direct pace in your team, and that is something we are going to look to add to in January."

Tottenham (4-4-1-1): Gomes; Hutton, Dawson, Kaboul, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon, Modric, Palacios (Jenas, 46), Bale; Van der Vaart (Crouch, 71); Pavlyuchenko (Bassong, 66) Substitutes not used Pletikosa, Keane, Kranjcar, Corluka.

Booked Kaboul, Palacios.

Sent off Kaboul.

Newcastle (4-5-1): Krul; Simpson, Coloccini, Taylor, Perch; Routledge, Barton, Smith, Tiote (Lovenkrands, 78), Gutierrez (Ranger, 66); Carroll Substitutes not used Harper, Williamson, Xisco, Best, Kadar.

Booked Smith, Gutierrez, Tiote, Carroll.

Man of the match Modric.

Referee A Taylor (Cheshire).

Attendance 35,927.

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