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Fulham 1-2 Tottenham Prem 14 1314 Daily Star

last updated Thursday 05th December 2013, 12:42 PM
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David Wright/ Paul Brown at Daily Star

Fulham (0) 1 Tottenham (0) 2

Lewis Holtby ruined new Fulham boss Rene Meulensteen's first match in charge with a sublime late strike to claim all three points as Spurs scrambled a 2-1 victory at Fulham.

Vlad Chiriches' first Tottenham goal and the smart strike from Lewis Holtby spared manager Andre Villas-Boas' blushes .

Recalled Spurs striker Jermain Defoe didn't waste much time trying to prove he should be starting every week, forcing an early diving save from Maarten Stekelenburg.

Giorgos Karagounis - one of seven changes made by Meulensteen - also had a fierce deflected shot well saved by the Frenchman.

Lloris came to the rescue again when he palmed away a great effort from Berbatov, whose first-time volley on the turn was on its way in.

But from the resulting corner Spurs almost scored at the other end, breaking upfield only for Paulinho to blaze over.

Chiriches' crisp 20-yard finish and the equally neat second from Holtby helped Spurs dispatch a spirited Fulham side desperate to start Rene Meulensteen's reign in style.

Dimitar Berbatov played a delightful ball to pick out Dejagah and the Fulham winger stormed into the box to smash it home.

Meulensteen put his faith in the Bulgarian despite the Fulham striker's agent insisting he wants out.

And Berbatov responded with a vintage display against his former club as the home side put in a much improved performance for their new boss following Martin Jol's sacking.

He was denied an opener by a flying save from Tottenham keeper Hugo Lloris and hit the side netting before setting up Dejagah for the breakthrough goal.

But the hosts were unable to hold that lead, with the defensive fragility that ended Martin Jol's tenure again costing dear.

And so it was Tottenham who ended a run of four Barclays Premier League matches without victory - with Fulham slipping to their sixth consecutive league defeat.

Tottenham wasted two gilt-edged chances in a first half heavy on application but little else, with Paulinho and Erik Lamela the guilty parties for Villas-Boas' men.

Spurs rallied when left with little option by a Fulham side scrapping for any kind of league foothold, and that proved enough for victory.

But Villas-Boas will know his men were nowhere near as fluent as he would expect, struggling to control the pace and tempo for much of the match.

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