London - A stunning late strike from red-hot Tottenham Hotspur winger Gareth
Bale lifted the Londoners to a 3-2 win over West Ham United on Monday
that took them up to third in the Premier League table.
Bale, who has scored eight times in his last six games, also netted the
game's opener after 13 minutes but he left his best until the 90th
minute when he unleashed a rocket of a shot past goalkeeper Jussi
Spurs went two points clear of Chelsea on 51 points while West Ham
dropped to 14th on a poignant night for the east London club, who
honoured former player and England's 1966 World Cup-winning captain
Bobby Moore on the 20th anniversary of his death.
A 25th-minute penalty from Andy Carroll and a Joe Cole strike in the
second half brought the home fans more cheer until Iceland midfielder
Gylfi Sigurdsson levelled for Spurs with 14 minutes remaining and Bale
completed the visitors' comeback.
Former Finland keeper Jaaskelainen had been in brilliant form to deny
Tottenham on several occasions but could do nothing but watch in
desperation as Bale let rip from around 30 metres to break the hosts'
Welshman Bale had signalled his intent early on when he took the ball
outside the box and skirted a few challenges before sending a fierce
shot into the crowd.
Bale opened the scoring when he evaded the West Ham defenders having
picked up the ball on the edge of the box before placing a low
left-footed shot across Jaaskelainen into the net.
"He's a super talent. He's making the difference every single game," Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas told Sky Sports.
Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris was less busy than his counterpart but made
a crucial intervention with his side 2-1 down when he stormed out of
goal to deny Matt Taylor, who was clean through on the right side of the
Bale said is team had never given up hope of a win to put them in an
even stronger position to seal their highest Premier League finish,
having finished fourth twice.
"We haven't been thinking like that," Bale said when asked if the team had thought it was not their day.
"We know what we're capable of and we're confident. We keep battling to the end. The team played really well."
Tottenham play fifth-placed Arsenal, their north London neighbours, on Sunday.
Gareth Bale sent a scorching 25-meter drive into the top corner in the 90th minute Monday as Tottenham won 3-2 at West Ham to rise to third place in the Premier League.
It was the second goal of the match for Bale, who has 15 in the league and 23 overall this season, and it extended Spurs' unbeaten league run to 11 games and boosted hopes of qualifying for the Champions League next season.
"It was a massive victory," Bale said. "We know what we are capable of. We have scored a lot of last-minute winners. We are confident that if we keep battling to the end we will score.
"I'm just enjoying my football. The most important thing is the team playing well. It is not about me, it's about the team."
Bale scored in the 13th minute at Upton Park after seizing on a loose pass and finishing adroitly from outside the box. But Andy Carroll equalized from the spot in the 25th after being fouled in the area, and Joe Cole gave West Ham the lead in the 58th with a deft control and finish beyond goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
The two West Ham players, who both started the season at Liverpool, looked to have given the hosts just their second win in seven league matches.
However, Gylfi Sigurdsson came off the bench to level in the 76th following a goal-mouth scramble, before Bale struck with time almost up to leave goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen with no chance of stopping the thunderbolt.
Spurs swapped places with Chelsea to sit five points behind Manchester City and and seven clear of fifth-place Arsenal. West Ham is 14th, six points above the relegation zone.
"He is an unbelievable, super talent," Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas said. "You have seen him this season go to another level and make a difference every game. (A) tremendous talent, for sure."
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce was also full of praise for the Wales winger.
"We have been beaten by Gareth Bale, really," he said.