Alli leads Tottenham past Newcastle

Aubrey Yates
August 12, 2018

Paul Merson is tipping Newcastle United to hold Tottenham Hotspur to a goalless draw in their Premier League opener this weekend.

That low-key approach has frustrated Tottenham fans, but Alli lifted the gloom with a clinical header to seal at the points at St James' Park.

Vertonghen headed Spurs into an early lead - an advantage that was restored after 18 minutes by Dele Alli following Joselu's equaliser for the hosts. For all of the positives, it has to be said that Harry Kane again flattered to deceive in a match in August.

Harry Kane, Eric and Dele Alli are starting despite returning from their post-World Cup break and France World Cup winning captain Hugo Lloris has also taken his position between the sticks. Subscribe to our SMS sports service by texting "SPORTS" to 22840.

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Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has defended Harry Kane by saying his star striker can not score a hat-trick every week after a sluggish display against Newcastle on Saturday. This is their eighth consecutive opening day away game and, in 2018, St James' Park has not been a happy hunting ground for away teams. Tottenham started brightly and took the lead when goal-line technology ruled that Vertonghen's header had just crossed the line, only for Newcastle to draw level nearly immediately.

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Rafa Benitez deployed a 4-2-3-1 formation against Tottenham and kept every new signing except for Martin Dubravka and Kenedy on the bench.

Tottenham's second goal was simple in its construction and should have been comfortably dealt with.

The only surprise was that, after Alli's 18th-minute strike that turned out to be the victor, there was no further scoring with both goalkeepers, Slovak Martin Dubravka and Frenchman Hugo Lloris, forced to make a string of impressive saves.

An increasingly open second period surprisingly failed to produce further addition to the score, as both goalkeepers excelled.

Alli passed up a chance to extend his side's lead when he bundled Kane's mishit shot straight to Dubravka.

More unconvincing set-piece defending left Lloris thwarting Ayoze Perez at close quarters and Tottenham just about hung on after Vertonghen deflected an effort from substitute Rondon against the crossbar.

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