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Departing Defoe on target for Spurs

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REUTERS

Tottenham Hotspur's Jermain Defoe (left) celebrates his goal against Crystal Palace. Picture: Reuters/Dylan Martinez

London – Jermain Defoe began his Tottenham Hotspur swansong with a smartly taken goal as his side won 2-0 at home to Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday.

Spurs announced on Friday that the long-serving striker will join Major League Soccer side Toronto FC in February and he kicked off his farewell tour with a 72nd-minute goal after coming on as a substitute.

Christian Eriksen had opened the scoring for Spurs early in the second half, after Jason Puncheon spurned an opportunity to put Palace ahead in the eighth minute with a horribly mishit penalty.

Victory got Spurs back to winning ways after they lost at Arsenal in the FA Cup last weekend and lifted them to fifth place, while results elsewhere saw Palace slip to the foot of the table.

Palace had nonetheless started the game in enterprising fashion, with Cameron Jerome and Marouane Chamakh paired together up front, and they saw Puncheon drag an early shot wide from the edge of the box.

Nadil Bentaleb replied for Spurs with a 25-yard effort that Julian Speroni saved at the second attempt, before Puncheon fluffed his lines in spectacular fashion.

Mousa Dembele was penalised for running into Chamakh inside the Spurs area, but Puncheon completely miscued his spot-kick, lazily shanking the ball high and wide with his left foot.

To their credit, Palace refused to be cowed and the visitors saw Chamakh head over from a corner before Jerome tested Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris with a 25-yard volley.

The hosts ended the first half strongly, however, and after Aaron Lennon put a teasing cross into the box, Bentaleb came within a whisker of breaking the deadlock with a 30-yard curler that hit the inside of the post.

They picked up where they had left off in the second half and Eriksen broke the deadlock in the 50th minute when he brought down a flick-on from Emmanuel Adebayor and drove a left-foot shot into the net.

Defoe was given a rapturous reception when he replaced Roberto Soldado with half an hour to play and he almost made an immediate impact with a shot that flashed narrowly wide of the far post.

Palace manager Tony Pulis introduced Jonathan Williams and Dwight Gayle for the final 20 minutes, but Defoe put the game to bed moments later when he gathered a pass from Lennon and lifted a shot past Speroni.

Mile Jedinak and substitute Adlene Guedioura went close for Palace in the closing stages, while Chamakh headed just over the bar in injury time, but it was to be Defoe's day. – Sapa-AFP


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