Southampton 1 – 2 Tottenham: Bale is back as Spurs head into top four
Gareth Bale marked his Premier League return after the birth of his child by scoring as Spurs overcame Southampton at St Mary’s.
But it was Clint Dempsey’s close-range finish that ended up being the winner after Jay Rodriguez scored his first Premier League goal.
But the big story was Bale’s return after he narrowly missed Tottenham’s defeat to Chelsea.
The Welshman refused to celebrate his goal out of respect for the club that nurtured his talent from a young age.
Fifteen minutes in, he got the run on his marker at back post to arrow a header across goal into the back of the net.
It was followed by a second just before half-time when Jermain Defoe rolled the ball past Boruc only for Jose Fonte’s clearance off the line to find Clint Dempsey for a tap-in.
Indeed it was the closest Defoe got to a goal in what was the worst showing the England international has produced for quite some time.
His shooting got progressively wider as the game went on and it is not a game he will look back on fondly from a personal perspective.
Southampton came out much stronger in the second half armed with the belief that they could close the deficit.
Maya should have scored from close range as he headed the ball into Gallas’ back for a corner.
Fortunately Southampton scored from this corner with Jay Rodriguez smashing the ball home via the inside of the post.
Andre Villas Boas was delighted in the post-match interview, saying: “It was a great win for us, particularly on a weekend when most of the top teams played each other.”
Spurs now travel to Carrow Road for their Capital One Cup tie against Norwich on Wednesday night before facing Wigan at White Hart Lane on Saturday.
Adam Appleton, football correspondent