Tottenham 2-0 Blackburn: Stunning Walker free kick sees Spurs go fourth
Redknapp's side moves ahead of Newcastle on goal difference after a comfortable victory over a lifeless Rover's team.
By Husmukh Kerai
Spurs dominated the game throughout the 90 minutes and thoroughly deserved the three points against a demoralized Blackburn side.
The home side took the lead via Rafael Van der Vaart midway through the first half, the Dutchman finding the net following a goal mouth scramble.
Redknapp's men continued to press and eventually sealed the victory with 15 minutes to go thanks to a fantastic free kick by Kyle Walker.
Harry Redknapp was forced into making two changes from the FA Cup semifinal loss with Benoit Assou-Ekotto ruled out for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury and Scott Parker missing out with an Achilles problem. Danny Rose made his first start of the season and Sandro was also recalled to the starting lineup.
Steve Kean named the same starting lineup that beat Norwich last weekend with Yakubu supported by Junior Hoillet in attack.
Spurs got off to a bright start and should have taken the lead inside the second minute through Aaron Lennon. Luka Modric drove through three defenders down the left before sliding a dangerous ball across the face of the goal to pick out Lennon, but the winger got his feet in a muddle and squandered the chance.
The home side dominated possession in the first quarter of an hour and was the width of a crossbar away from taking the lead. Sandro showed good strength to hold off a challenge and then fired in a shot from 25 yards out rattling the frame of the goal with Paul Robinson well beaten.
Blackburn found it difficult to get out of its half as the club defended wave after wave of Tottenham attacks with Spurs continually exploiting space in the wide areas.
The breakthrough eventually came in the 22nd minute. Lennon was allowed space on the right to stand the ball up at the back post which was headed back across the goal by Bale and deflected on to the bar by Scott Dann. The ball was eventually turned home after a goal mouth scramble by relieved Van der Vaart.
Lennon wasted a glorious chance to double the home side's lead a moment later as he skipped across the pitch in a three-on-three counterattack but opted to take the shot, rather than pick out Emmanuel Adebayor and blazed his shot well over.
Spurs wasted another chance to deservedly double the lead just before the break as William Gallas’ header came off the bar after a succession of corners.
The first half performance from Tottenham was reminiscent of the team's blistering early season form with Modric providing the cutting edge in center of midfield and the combination of Bale and Lennon working as good outlets in the wide areas.
Meanwhile, Blackburn spent most of the half pegged back in its own half with 10 men behind the ball.
Blackburn enjoyed its best spell of possession at the beginning of the second period but didn’t manage a meaningful attempt on goal.
Tottenham was soon on top again though. Despite being a goal down and in a perilous position in the relegation battle, Blackburn failed to show any attacking impetus or desire to win the ball back.
The tempo of the game had dropped significantly by the hour mark with the home side comfortable as you can be with a one nil lead.
Spurs had half chances to create some breathing space between the sides but both Bale and Modric dragged their efforts wide from decent shooting positions whereas Blackburn had yet to manage a shot on goal.
With his side desperate for a goal in the fight for survival, Steve Kean substituted Blackburn's top scorer Yakubu with 20 minutes to go. The Nigerian barely had a kick in the game and was replaced by Anthony Modeste.
The second goal eventually came in the 75th minute and it was well worth the wait for the Spurs' supporters. Van der Vaart stood over a free kick from 35 yards out, when suddenly Walker ran up to the ball and whipped an absolutely delicious right-footed free kick into the top right corner of the net. The spectacular swerve generated on the ball left Robinson with no chance of keeping it out.
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