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Fulham 0-3 Tottenham Premiership Matchday 15 1213 Daily Telegraph

last updated Sunday 02nd December 2012, 6:03 PM

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Arindam Rej at Daily Telegraph

Fulham (0) 0 Tottenham (0) 3

Jermain Defoe struck twice after Sandro had spectacularly scored his first goal in 18 months to secure a deserved victory for Tottenham Hotspur - but it came at a price as Gareth Bale limped off with a hamstring injury.

Bale had earlier been the centre of some controversy as he was yet again booked for simulation after tumbling over Steve Sidwell's attempted challenge. As well as losing him, Tottenham also had captain Michael Dawson forced off early on with a twisted ankle.

Tottenham's afternoon improved - after a goalless first half - when Sandro managed to score from 35 yards with Fulham failing to close him down, then in-form Defoe moved his tally for the season to 12 for his club. The manner of this win, at a difficult ground to get results, highlighted that this improving Tottenham team are serious top-four challengers.

Boos had earlier greeted Clint Dempsey on his return to the club, but he quickly reminded Fulham what they have been missing by collecting a pass from Defoe and turning adroitly beyond Philippe Senderos before shooting fractionally wide.

It was soon Dimitar Berbatov's turn to exhibit his class to his former employers, Tottenham, with a cunning backheel for Ashkan Dejagah, whose cross was cleared only as far as Kerim Frei, but the Turkey midfielder scooped the ball over from 16 yards. Dawson then twisted an ankle while landing awkwardly and was replaced by William Gallas.

Bale has been booked more times for simulation this season than any other Premier League player - and he was again shown a yellow for that offence, for the second successive game, when he dived over Steve Sidwell's attempted challenge. The winger's sarcastic applause afterwards was not the most appropriate response.

Tottenham had been in the ascendancy during an open first half, but Fulham were unlucky not to snatch the lead when John Arne Riise crossed for Mladen Petric, whose effort was blocked by Hugo Lloris. The visitors finished the half strongly though, as Dempsey dragged a shot wide from 20 yards and Bale later flicked over a chance from close range from Aaron Lennon's cross.

Sandro rewarded them for their persistence early in the second half, as he was given time and space - with Fulham not expecting him to shoot and Sidwell standing back - before he unleashed his low 35-yard shot. The ball zipped beyond Mark Schwarzer, diving to his right, and nestled in the bottom corner. It was only his second goal in the Premier League.

Bale had a chance to make it 2-0 soon aftewards, firing an angled shot at Schwarzer, and he injured his left hamstring in the process, requiring treatment before limping off. That bad news for Tottenham was almost compounded when Fulham came close to scoring after more Berbatov magic. He deftly lofted the ball over to Damien Duff on the right wing and the Irishman dashed forward and delivered a cross that Dejagah headed over.

Tottenham were cruising though when Bale's replacement Gylfi Sigurdsson made a piercing run that confused Senderos and crossed for Defoe to guide the ball in with a typical poacher's finish. Dempsey then helped Defoe to another by threading the ball through accurately - with Senderos again failing to cut it out - allowing the striker to stroke the ball beyond Schwarzer.

Fulham (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Riether (Kelly 29), Hughes, Senderos, Riise; Dejagah, Sidwell, Diarra, Frei (Duff 62); Petric (Rodallega 79), Berbatov.
Substitutes: Etheridge (gk), Baird, Karagounis, Richardson.

Tottenham Hotspur (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Naughton, Dawson (Gallas 17), Caulker, Vertonghen; Sandro, Dembele (Carroll 84); Lennon, Dempsey, Bale (Sigurdsson 62); Defoe.
Substitutes: Friedel (gk), Falque, Walker, Livermore.

Booked: Bale, Gallas.

Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside).

Attendance: 25,426

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