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'Fantastic skill, fantastic goal'

Posted on 5 February 2011  - 12:00

Harry Redknapp felt it could have been game-over inside 10 minutes against Bolton - so he was delighted Niko Kranjcar produced a 'moment of magic' in injury time to clinch a vital 2-1 win.

'Fantastic skill, fantastic goal'

Harry Redknapp felt it could have been game-over inside 10 minutes against Bolton - so he was delighted Niko Kranjcar produced a 'moment of magic' in injury time to clinch a vital 2-1 win.

We looked well on the way to victory in the first half at the Lane when Rafael van der Vaart found the top corner with his second penalty to make it 2-0 in the eighth minute.

However, referee Mr Clattenburg called Rafa back to the spot for a re-take after the officials spotted players encroaching in the penalty area and this time, the Dutch star fired wide of the target and the scoreline stayed at 1-0.

We lost Rafa to injury at half-time and Bolton levelled through Daniel Sturridge in the 55th minute.

Typically, we pushed on for a win and the game was end-to-end after that. Jermaine Jenas struck the woodwork and Jussi Jaskelainen denied Steven Pienaar while Bolton remained a threat on the break as we commited players forward.

Niko entered the fray in the 78th minute and saved the best until last, picking up the ball 25 yards out with 92 minutes on the clock, jinking past Zat Knight and lashing into the top corner.

“We should have been 2-0 up and I think we’d have gone on and won the game quite comfortably,” reflected Harry. “How often do you see penalties pulled back for encroachment? That was unusual.

“We had opportunities and just couldn’t get a break. The game ebbed and flowed, they got back to 1-1 and then we had chances.

“JJ hit a great free-kick that beat the keeper all ends up but came back off the woodwork and we had other chances but they were dangerous on the break as well. They had situations they couldn’t capitalise on.

“I ended up playing with an open team because we needed to win and a draw wasn’t any good to us.

“We kept going and in the end it took some magic from Niko Kranjcar to pull the game out of the fire. It was a fantastic bit of skill and fantastic goal.

“We got there in the end and it was a fantastic result for us. We really needed the three points.”

The win moved us level on points with fourth-placed Chelsea on Saturday. Chelsea host Liverpool on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Harry confirmed that Rafa was substituted at half-time suffering from a tight calf.