Sabtu, 07 Januari 2012

Pienaar gets a game as Spurs win

Jermain Defoe's recent run of goalscoring form continued at White Hart Lane as Tottenham eased into the fourth round of the FA Cup with a 3-0 win over League Two side Cheltenham.

It was also South African Steven Pienaar’s first outing for Spurs this season since spending time on the sidelines due a hamstring injury.

Defoe, meanwhile, tapped home in the 24th minute for his third goal in four games, which included the winner against West Brom in his previous match.

He then set up Roman Pavlyuchenko for the second goal as the hosts avoided a cup upset with a straightforward victory, with Giovani dos Santos adding a late third.

Spurs manager Harry Redknapp, who won the trophy in 2008 with Portsmouth, used the victory to give a game to fringe players or those returning from injuries.

Michael Dawson captained the team after four months out with an Achilles problem, while Aaron Lennon started on the wing after recovering from a hamstring problem.

Jake Livermore had recovered from a cut mouth and was needed at right-back as Redknapp was short in that area.

There were 67 league places separating the teams ahead of kick-off but the visitors, who are chasing promotion from League Two, started positively and tried their luck from long range through Russ Penn.

But Spurs inevitably started creating chances, with Pavlyuchenko twisting on the edge of the penalty area but curling an effort just over the crossbar.

Pienaar, making his first domestic start of the season, then had a shot blocked by Steve Elliott and deflected over when he was given room from a similar position.

But Spurs were ahead midway through the opening half with a move started by Niko Kranjcar. The Croatia midfielder threaded the ball through to Giovani, who raced through on goal and delicately chipped goalkeeper Scott Brown.

Giovani's effort was going in, but Defoe slid in and prodded home from a yard out for his 11th goal of the season.

It was Defoe who set up the second goal, which was slotted in by Pavlyuchenko with two minutes left in the opening half. Giovani played the ball behind the Cheltenham defence and Defoe's low cross invited a straightforward finish from his strike-partner. Cheltenham, with their travelling support still in good voice, tried to attack and forced a save from Carlo Cudicini before the interval.

Kaid Mohamed, who showed good pace on the left flank, had the Spurs defence on the back foot with an exciting run before his shot was collected by Cudicini.

But in the second half Spurs had plenty of chances to extend their lead.

Defoe raced through and Brown saved with his legs. He also saved when Defoe angled a drive towards the top corner of the goalkeeper's near post.

Livermore had an effort deflected over, Pavlyuchenko cleared the crossbar with a chip and Kranjcar had a powerful volley saved well by Brown.

Penn had the visitors' best chance of the second half but blazed over when Brian Smikle pulled the ball back for his teammate.

Giovani's strike came with two minutes remaining, his effort deflecting off Elliott and looping over Brown. – Sapa-AFP

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