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Fulham 0-3 Tottenham Premiership Matchday 15 1213 Daily Mail

last updated Sunday 02nd December 2012, 6:06 PM

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Ian Ridley at Daily Mail

Fulham (0) 0 Tottenham (0) 3

Tottenham under Andre Villas-Boas have so far looked like a team either on the verge of excellence or the cusp of a crisis.

This week, all things will seem possible after a convincing third consecutive win - following three successive defeats - that lifted them into a Champions League position.

Sandro's remarkable pot-shot from 40 yards and Jermain Defoe's brace, which took his tally to nine in the Premier League and 12 in total, saw Spurs comfortably home courtesy of a potent second-half display.

Sad Fulham were left goalless for a third straight game, their bright start to the season fading in the blackness of cold winter evenings by the Thames.

The only dark clouds for Spurs came in injury and insult to talisman Gareth Bale. He tweaked a hamstring that is likely to keep him out for two weeks and he was also cautioned for diving.

It happened, too, against Liverpool in midweek and Bale now has four yellow cards for the season.

He is also the most booked player for simulation in the Premier League, with four yellows in 15 months.

This time, having clipped Steve Sidwell's outstretched leg, it looked harsh from referee Chris Foy. Reputation appeared to count, which at least might force Bale in rethinking his apparent fondness for falling.

'The game is fast and it is difficult to judge situations,' said boss Villas Boas.

'Gareth has suffered big injuries to his ankles and wants to protect himself.

'Now he is near a suspension for two unfair yellow cards.'

Otherwise, the Portuguese was delighted with the trio of wins in eight days.

'We've had a very good week and managed to change our fortunes,' he said.

'So many individuals have been excellent, like Sandro and Aaron Lennon. They are setting new standards.'

And Defoe? 'Sometimes a striker may look distant from the game but he is one who has that clinical strike when you set him up,' he added.

The end to the afternoon was happier for Tottenham than the start, as Clint Dempsey was jeered by the home crowd for forcing a summer move across London.

The American might have scored after working an opening for himself with some neat football on the edge of the Fulham penalty area but curled his shot wide.

It was pretty much the sum total of Tottenham's attacking efforts in the first half. Fulham were scarcely much better and hardly tested a Spurs defence that had to adjust after losing Michael Dawson to an early injury.

Their best effort saw Hugo Lloris smother Mladen Petric's sidefooted shot from John Arne Riise's low cross.

A barren game seemed imminent but Sandro intervened 10 minutes into the second half with a goal out of the blue.

Looking up, 40 yards out, the Brazilian saw he had few options and launched a low shot. It looked ambitious to the point of folly but Mark Schwarzer was taken by surprise, slow down to the ball, and could only push it on to a post and into the net.

Defoe began his exemplary show of striking 17 minutes later when he turned home substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson's low cross - after the Icelander had danced round a static Philippe Senderos - and he completed his brace five minutes later, when he neatly tucked home Dempsey's through pass.

As their hardly-rabid jeering of Dempsey illustrated - and their applause for the other Tottenham departee, Mousa Dembele, who had not asked for a move - Fulham supporters are largely a tolerant bunch.

Yet they must be getting concerned with their side having gone seven games without a win, with the midweek point at Chelsea now not looking to be the prize it once might have been.

'We had two difficult away games and lost a bit of our fighting spirit,' said Fulham manager Martin Jol, not best pleased by defeat at the hands of his former club.

'We have started to make mistakes and we have to avoid that or we will be in a difficult position in the league.'

Still, in the end both sets of supporters could take some pleasure as their arch local rivals, Chelsea and Arsenal, both lost. In football, as so well put by the recently departed Gore Vidal: 'It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail.'

Fulham: Schwarzer, Riether (Kelly 28), Senderos, Hughes, Riise, Frei (Duff 61), Diarra, Sidwell, Dejagah, Berbatov, Petric (Rodallega 78).
Subs not used: Etheridge, Baird, Karagounis, Richardson.

Tottenham: Lloris, Naughton, Dawson (Gallas 16), Caulker, Vertonghen, Lennon, Dembele (Carroll 83), Sandro, Bale (Sigurdsson 61), Defoe, Dempsey.
Subs not used: Friedel, Falque, Walker, Livermore. Goals: Sandro 55, Defoe 72, 77.

Booked: Bale, Gallas.

Referee: Chris Foy.

Att: 25,426.

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