English Premiership

Keane keep Spurs in Euro hunt

2009-05-16 18:14
Still alive (File)

London - A late penalty from Robbie Keane kept alive Tottenham's hopes of European football next season after they beat Manchester City 2-1 at White Hart Lane on Saturday.

An inventive goal from striker Jermain Defoe capped off a vibrant first-half display by the home team but City hit back through a glorious goal from Bulgarian striker Valeri Bojinov.

Keane's 85th minute winner now means Spurs can secure a seventh place finish in the Premier League, and Europa Cup qualification, if they win and Fulham slip up next Sunday.

City played their part in an open end-of-season encounter but are now resigned to a mid-table finish which manager Mark Hughes will be under pressure to improve on next season.

Redknapp signalled his intentions of giving the home fans an entertaining farewell by selecting an attacking line-up including Defoe, Roman Pavlyuchenko, Luka Modric and Keane.

Spurs' injury-plagued centre-back Ledley King made the team after a traumatic week which saw him spend a night in a police cell after an incident outside a London nightclub last weekend.

The visitors were without Brazilian superstar Robinho, who was suffering from a groin injury. His place was taken by Bulgaria winger Martin Petrov.

Spurs potent forward line was soon causing havoc in the Sky Blues' defense and 'keeper Shay Given had to be at his best to palm Defoe's 18-yard effort wide of the post.

City's Irish stopper was again on hand to save his team ten minutes later, sprawling full-length to push away striker Pavlyuchenko's 22-yard strike.

The former Newcastle 'keeper seemed to be single-handedly repelling the home team, producing another excellent reaction save to keep out King's powerful downward header from Tom Huddlestone's left-wing corner.

An impudent touch of skill from lively striker Defoe finally breached the visitors' resistance in the 29th minute.

Midfielder Huddlestone curled in a low cross from the corner of the penalty-area which the diminutive forward back-heeled past Given from six-yards out to register his third league goal since returning in January.

The Lillywhites' spurned a glorious opportunity to extend their lead two minutes later as captain Keane somehow bundled the ball wide with the goal beckoning after good wing-work from left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto.

An inspired substitution by Hughes helped pull City level, as Bulgarian striker Bojinov scored with his first touch in the 65th minute.

Midfielder Stephen Ireland chipped a ball into the area which substitute Benjani flicked into the path of Bojinov. The former Fiorentina man reacted instantly to lash a superb volley into the top corner of the goal.

The visitors, who had looked much better in the second-half, continued to press and should have moved into the lead but Benjani headed wide from Dutchman Vincent Kompany's wicked right-wing cross.

Bojinov was unsettling the home back-line, who were without the substituted Jonathon Woodgate, and his powerful angled drive forced an excellent save from 'keeper Heurelho Gomes.

However, the home team were to have the last laugh as referee Mark Halsey awarded them a penalty after defender Micah Richards and Spurs substitute Fraizer Campbell tangled in the area following Defoe's cross.

Keane kept his calm and stroked the ball gently into the goal as Given dived the wrong way.

Benjani had a great chance to equalise moments afterwards, but somehow skewed his header over the goal with Gomes floundering.


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