Belfast Telegraph

Bale bags brace against Blackburn

Tottenham cruised to a comfortable 4-2 victory over Blackburn thanks to a brace from Gareth Bale and strikes from Roman Pavlyuchenko and Peter Crouch.

Bale put Spurs in front in the 16th minute with a firm header before Pavlyuchenko missed a 31st-minute penalty. Pavlyuchenko made amends with a header four minutes before the break and Crouch added a third in the 68th minute.

Bale scored his second with a fine finish in the 76th minute before Blackburn substitute David Dunn and Gael Givet gave the scoreline a more respectable look for the visitors.

The home side had dominated the early stages of the game and took the lead with their first real chance, when Rafael Van der Vaart's corner in the 16th minute was firmly headed home at the near post by man of the moment Bale.

Spurs were denied a penalty in the 24th minute when Luka Modric was upended in the box but referee Andre Marriner booked the Spurs midfielder for diving.

The hosts were awarded a penalty in the 31st minute when Paul Robinson was adjudged to have brought down Peter Crouch - but Roman Pavlyuchenko sent his spot-kick wide of the former Tottenham goalkeeper's right-hand post.

Pavlyuchenko forced Robinson into another good save before making it 2-0 in the 41st minute. A typical Bale run down the left was followed by a cross to the far post, where Pavlyuchenko headed home unmarked.

Spurs had William Gallas to thank in the 61st minute when he cleared a shot from Morten Gamst Pedersen off the line. It was the Blackburn striker's last act of the game as he was replaced seconds later by David Dunn.

Goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes saved Spurs again in the 66th minute when he denied substitute El-Hadji Diouf, with Spurs going 3-0 up two minutes later when Gael Givet dithered and Peter Crouch took advantage. Bale then grabbed his second goal in the 76th minute when he slipped the ball home from a cross by Alan Hutton, before Rovers rallied.

Defender Ryan Nelsen touched in Dunn's 79th-minute shot and, after Younes Kaboul had cleared a Diouf effort off the line, Givet scored the visitors' second with a thunderous 18-yard shot in the 89th minute.


From Belfast Telegraph