Monday, February 22, 2010

Roman Pavlyuchenko grabs double send to the big four



* Defoe 27,
* Pavlyuchenko 84,
* Pavlyuchenko 90

**A controversial Jermain Defoe goal and two late Roman Pavlyuchenko strikes gave Tottenham a 3-0 victory over Wigan Athletic and moved back into fourth place in the Premier League on goal difference.

The match began slightly later than planned after Wigan goalkeeper Chris Kirkland noticed a hole in the netting of his goal, once the game was underway the state of the pitch made it difficult for both sides to play free flowing football.

The first chance of the match fell to David Bentley in the 15th minute, after a patient Tottenham build-up Wilson Palacios found Bentley. The midfielder flicked the ball up and volleyed at goal but his effort went straight at Chris Kirkland.

Spurs controversially took the lead in the 26th minute thanks to England striker Defoe. Referee Alan Wiley played an excellent advantage after Bentley was fouled in the center of the pitch by Hendry Thomas; the ball came to Niko Kranjcar who laid the ball into the path of Gareth Bale. The overlapping full-back delivered a low cross which was tapped home by Defoe from what looked like an offside position. Television replays confirmed the striker was at least two yards offside but the assistant referee’s flag remained down and Defoe grabbed his 22nd goal of the season.

The remainder of the half continued to be a scrappy affair with neither side testing the opposition goalkeeper. Bale and Defoe were both lucky to get away unpunished for what appeared to be dangerous two footed lunges at Mario Melchiot and Gary Caldwell respectively, however both teams went into half time with eleven men and Spurs with a one goal advantage.

In the 55th minute Roberto Martinez introduced substitute Victor Moses for Hendry Thomas and three minutes later the new signing tested Heurelho Gomes, the young midfielder got the ball out of his feet but could only shoot straight at the Tottenham goalkeeper.

On the hour mark Defoe nearly scored his 7th goal against Wigan this season. A neat pass from Kranjcar found Defoe in the right hand side of the penalty area, he skipped past Scharner and fired a powerful strike straight at Kirkland who made a comfortable save.

Wigan continued to go in search of an equalizer and in the 65th minute created another half chance, Marcelo Moreno found Charles N’Zogbia on the left side of the penalty area, however the Frenchman’s curling left foot shot sailed over the bar without testing Gomes.

With 18 minutes to play Defoe broke away inside the Wigan half, he cut in off the left wing before sliding a through ball for Peter Crouch but the his strike partner was unable to get on the end of the pass and the ball rolled into the arms of Kirkland. That was the final action of the match for Defoe who was replaced by Pavlyuchenko.

A mazy run by Modric in the 77th minute through the center of the pitch created an excellent chance for Crouch. The England striker took the ball into the penalty area but his shot was well saved by Kirkland who was keeping his side in the match.

With ten minutes to play Mistake by Gomes goes unpunished, shot by McCArthy was fumbled by the Brazilian goalkeeper but substitute Scott Sinclair was unable to turn the loose ball into the back of the net.

In the 82nd minute Tottenham were denied a second goal by the Wigan woodwork. Modric found David Bentley inside the penalty area, he took his time before returning the ball to the Croatian who’s right foot shot struck the post before rebounding into the arms of Kirkland.

A minute later Tottenham did double their lead thanks to Pavlyuchenko. The impressive Modric jinked through two Wigan tackles and found Pavlyuchenko who controlled the ball with his right foot before stroking it past Kirkland with his left.

Two minutes into injury time Pavlyuchenko grabbed his second goal and Spurs’ third, Kirkland spilt a free kick into the Russian’s path and he managed to turn the ball into the back of the net and secure the point for Spurs.

Teams Lineup:

Wigan Athletic: Kirkland, Melchiot, Caldwell, Scharner, Figueroa, Thomas, Diame, McCarthy, N'Zogbia, Moreno, Rodallega. Subs: Stojkovic, Watson, Scotland, Moses, Gomez, Sinclair, Boyce

Tottenham Hotspur: Gomes, Corluka, Dawson, King, Bale, Bentley, Huddlestone, Palacios, Kranjcar, Crouch, Defoe. Subs: Alnwick, Kaboul, Pavlyuchenko, Modric, Gudjohnsen, Bassong, Rose

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