Newcastle turn heat on Spurs

2012-04-10 08:04

London - Newcastle United moved level on points with fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur as the battle for Champions League qualification from the Premier League intensified Monday.

Newcastle's 2-0 win over strugglers Bolton, combined with Tottenham's 2-1 loss at home to Norwich, left the Champions League rivals together on 59 points.

Chelsea, the lone English semi-finalist in this season's Champions League, can join Newcastle and Tottenham on 59 points if they beat London rivals Fulham in Monday's late kick-off.

And the Blues will leapfrog the Magpies and Spurs into fourth place if they win by two goals or better.

The Premier League's top three clubs go into the first round of the Champions League proper, with the fourth-placed side set for a qualifying round.

At St James' Park, France midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa gave Newcastle a sensational 73rd minute lead when he beat several Bolton defenders before slipping the ball into the corner.

Newcastle's in-form Senegal striker Papiss Demba Cisse then made it 10 goals in nine games when, from close range, he turned in Shola Ameobi's cross seven minutes from time.

"It was a special, special goal from Ben Arfa," Newcastle manager Alan Pardew told Sky Sports.

"He's got that magic touch. Hopefully, it will edge the French manager (Laurent Blanc) to include him in the French squad (for Euro 2012)."

Tottenham fell behind at White Hart Lane when Anthony Pilkington capitalised on a mix-up in the Spurs defence to fire the Canaries into a 13th minute lead.

But England striker Jermain Defoe drew Tottenham level 20 minutes later.

However, the Canaries - now in the top half of the table following promotion last season - saw winger Elliott Bennett lash the ball past Brad Friedel as the Spurs defence backed off to make it 2-1 in the 66th minute.

Defeat meant Tottenham, who face London rivals Chelsea in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on Sunday, had won just once in eight league games.

"Credit to them (Norwich) as I think they deserved it," said Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp.

"I thought they bullied us a little bit. It was a bad day but we have to pick ourselves up."

Delighted Norwich boss Paul Lambert added: "That was phenomenal. From start to finish we were brilliant. I told the players I have seen some big games in my time and that was colossal."

Everton warmed up for their FA Cup semi-final against Merseyside rivals Liverpool at Wembley on Saturday by thrashing Sunderland 4-0 at Goodison Park.

All of the home side's goals came in a second-half spree, with winger Magaye Gueye firing Everton ahead in the 52nd minute.

The Frenchman then turned provider as South Africa's Steven Pienaar sealed victory with a 75th minute shot from the edge of the box.

Barely 60 seconds later Leon Osman made it 3-0 before Nigerian striker Victor Anichebe added a fourth nine minutes from time, with Everton resting several players ahead of the Cup semi-final.

Victory also saw seventh-placed Everton go four points clear of Liverpool in their bid to finish above their neighbours for the first time since 2005.

Elsewhere, Aston Villa opened up a seven-point gap between themselves and the bottom three with six games to play after a 1-1 draw at home to Stoke.

Villa went ahead through Andreas Weimann's 32nd minute curler before Stoke defender Robert Huth equalised with a header from a free-kick 19 minutes from time.


  • Ewan - 2012-04-10 10:16

    Harry, time to make clear your England manager aspirations - it is disrupting Spurs form. It started when Capello resigned and you were linked with the position, but only at the end of the season.

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