English Premiership

Bale double sinks Norwich

2011-12-28 08:38
Gareth Bale (File)

Norwich - Gareth Bale's superb display, capped by two well-taken goals, saw Tottenham Hotspur win 2-0 away to Norwich as the Londoners maintained their Premier League title challenge at Carrow Road.

Tuesday's victory meant Harry Redknapp's third-placed team went four points clear of their nearest pursuers and moved to within seven of the top two of Manchester City and champions Manchester United.

After a goalless first half, where Spurs laid siege to Norwich's goal, the visitors finally broke the deadlock 10 minutes after the break when Wales star Bale made the most of good approach play by Emmanuel Adebayor.

And 12 minutes later he latched onto Luka Modric's pass before setting off on a 45-yard run capped by a superb chip over Canaries goalkeeper John Ruddy.

Tottenham, who have a match in hand over all the teams immediately above and below them, capitalised on the points dropped by Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool before they kicked off at Carrow Road and will now head into the New Year as London's top club.

Bale, handed a free role by Spurs manager Harry Redknapp, was soon giving stand-in Norwich full-back Ritchie de Laet the run around with his blistering speed.

Norwich striker Grant Holt escaped even a caution, when he might have received a red card, after elbowing Spurs' Benoit Assou-Ekotto.

Bale struck a deflected shot just wide before blasting over the crossbar.

He then got on the end of Modric's through ball only for Ruddy to make a good save before Norwich's Russell Martin got in a timely tackle to deny Togo striker Adebayor, who then shot over the top in first half injury-time.

However, the goal Tottenham had been threatening arrived in the 55th minute.

Rafael van der Vaart's pass found Adebayor, who held off three Norwich defenders before finding the unmarked Bale who then shot under Ruddy from 12 yards out.

Shortly afterwards, Adebayor turned in Assou-Ekotto's cross soon after but his effort was ruled out for offside.

But there was no denying Spurs a second goal and Bale provided it in thrilling fashion, running 45 yards after receiving Modric's pass.

Having shown a brilliant turn of speed to outpace the Norwich defence, Bale then demonstrated another side of his game when he coolly chipped the advancing Ruddy to make it 2-0 in the 67th minute.

Modric might have made it 3-0 but the Croatia playmaker's poor shot proved no problem for Ruddy.

Norwich nearly grabbed a consolation goal in stoppage time but Martin's header was just wide in a match where the Canaries, who remained 11th in the table, were outclassed.

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