English Premiership

Spurs drop out of top four

2012-04-21 21:25
Harry Redknapp (AFP)

London - Tottenham dropped out of the Premier League top four after their failure to win at 10-man Queens Park Rangers on Saturday evening followed an earlier Newcastle United victory.

A goal from Adel Taarabt - a former Tottenham player - ended up giving Rangers their fourth straight home victory and renewed hopes of avoiding relegation.

Taarabt was later sent off for a second bookable offence but Rangers held on to the lead he had given them.

Tottenham now trail Newcastle, who had beaten Stoke City 3-0 earlier, by three points and are in fifth place, which would qualify them for the Europa League, not the Champions League.

The defeat was the latest setback suffered by Harry Redknapp's side, who had a 10-point advantage over Arsenal, who are now above them in third, in February.

Rangers moved above Wigan to 16th and are three points above Blackburn Rovers, the third bottom team, with three games remaining.

Jamie Mackie fired an early Rangers chance across goal and wide as the home side started strongly.

Tottenham goalkeeper Brad Friedel, making his 300th consecutive Premier League appearance, was then involved in a communications breakdown with team-mate Kyle Walker.

That resulted in a corner, which was cleared, but Rangers kept the pressure on until Samba Diakite fired wide from the edge of the box.

Gareth Bale was also off target with a Tottenham reply and a sustained spell of pressure saw two corners won.

The second, delivered by Rafael van der Vaart was met by the head of Bale and Paddy Kenny, the Rangers goalkeeper, did well to tip it over.

The corner that followed led to a well-struck long-ranger from van der Vaart that Kenny again was able to save.

Rangers' reply was a 24th minute opener direct from a free-kick by Taarabt after Sandro had fouled the Morocco international.

Taarabt was 25 yards away from goal but was still able to beat the wall and Friedel's dive to his right.

Tottenham should have been level within six minutes when Kenny could only parry a drive from van der Vaart into the air.

It went straight to Jermain Defoe, who was starting as Tottenham's lone striker in place of the injured Emmanuel Adebayor, but he could only head over from six yards.

The England forward was desperate to make amends but his next effort almost went out for a throw in.

Taarabt was booked for bringing Walker down on the edge of the Rangers box but the home side held their lead until half time.

Redknapp made a change for the second half, with Aaron Lennon replacing Sandro.

Rangers began with a move that saw Diakite use his strength to get into the box but he could only hit the side-netting.

Scott Parker and Defoe saw Spurs replies fail to hit the target and a free-kick saw William Gallas almost head the visitors level.

A deflection took that wide of an upright but Tottenham needed the intervention of substitute Danny Rose, on for Benoit Assou-Ekotto, to make a block as Bobby Zamora, Rangers' lone forward, turned to shoot.

Van der Vaart wasted a good opportunity at the other end with a shot that was too high before Rangers defender Nedum Onuoha was booked for a foul on Bale.

Parker then went down under Onuoha's challenge and the Rangers players reacted angrily, accusing him of diving in the hope of getting the defender sent off.

Taarabt was sent off 12 minutes before the end for his second bookable offence. The forward had been cautioned in the first half for a foul on Walker and was booked again for kicking the ball away.

Tottenham poured forward but Kenny was in good form, making saves from Luka Modric and van der Vaart and the 10 men held on to bank three valuable points, adding to home victories over Liverpool, Arsenal and Swansea.

Read more on:    tottenham  |  epl  |  harry redknapp  |  soccer


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