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Tottenham Hotspur joint third after 3-0 win at Fulham
Tottenham made it three wins on the bounce and lifted themselves to joint third in the Premier League with a 3-0 win against Fulham at Craven Cottage.
A goal from Sandro mid-way through the second half sparked what was a poor game into life and two strikes in quick succession from Jermain Defoe sealed all three points for the visitors.
The win rounded off a superb week for Andre Villas-Boas’ men who recorded victories against West Ham and Liverpool in the seven days previously to draw them level on points with Chelsea.
The win was only marred by injury concerns to Michael Dawson and Gareth Bale who both limped off with what appeared to be hamstring injuries.
Spurs struggled to break through Fulham for much of the game and looked more likely to go behind before Sandro broke the deadlock on 55 minutes.
The midfielder put his side ahead when Schwarzer failed to keep out his driven shot from almost 30 yards.
The Brazilian picked up the ball inside the Fulham half, looked left and right for options and when no pass presented itself, he took two strides towards goal and let fly.
Schwarzer will be disappointed not to have stopped the effort, which bounced awkwardly in front of him to his right but the goalkeeper got across to the ball but could only deflect it onto the post and in.
Jermain Defoe scored his eighth of the season when he finished smartly from the edge of the six yard box after Siggurdsson beat Senderos on the left and squared the ball to the forward in the 72nd minute.
Defoe, who pledged his future to Tottenham earlier this week, got his second and Spurs’ third four minutes later when he slotted past Schwarzer after being played through by Dempsey.
The goals lit up what had been a largely uneventful game. Both teams started tentatively in a poor first half that Fulham edged in terms of chances.
Dempsey should have hit the target for Tottenham early on when he cleverly turned two Fulham defenders inside the box but pushed his shot wide.
Mladen Petric saw his close range effort blocked when the striker got to a low cross from the left ahead of Gallas and Caulker and hit straight at the keeper as he looked to steer the ball in at the near post.
Kerim Frei skyed his shot when the ball fell to him just inside the box and Petric then blasted well over on the turn.
Spurs were dealt a defensive blow when Dawson went off with what appeared to be a hamstring injury in the 17th minute.
Perhaps the biggest talking point in the opening 45 minutes came when Bale was booked for simulation for the second time in two games.
The Welshman flung himself to the deck at full pace under a challenge from Sidwell in the middle of the pitch and replays suggested the referee was right to show yellow.
The second half began in similar fashion as the first and it was somewhat out of the blue when Spurs took the lead through Sandro.
Bale forced a save from Schwarzer soon after when he was played through on the left but he appeared to pull a hamstring as he followed through on the ball and limped off to be replaced by Sigurdsson.
The Icelandic international, who has struggled since his summer move to Spurs, had an immediate impact and he did brilliantly to turn Senderos inside out before unselfishly squaring to Defoe.
Spurs will hope they can now continue their run in their deciding Europa League game against Panathanaikos on Thursday at White Hart Lane.
Fulham: Schwarzer, Riether (Kelly, 28), Senderos, Hughes, Riise, Frei, Diarra, Sidwell, Dejagah, Berbatov, Petric. Subs: Etheridge, Baird, Karagounis, Richardson, Duff, Rodallega.
Tottenham: Lloris, Naughton, Dawson (Gallas, 17), Caulker, Vertonghen, Lennon, Dembele (Carroll, 83), Sandro, Bale (Sigurdsson, 60), Defoe, Dempsey. Subs: Friedel, Falque, Walker, Livermore.
Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside)