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Posted on 22 July 2006  - 12:00

Dimitar Berbatov marked his first Spurs game on English soil with two goals in the pre-season contest against Birmingham at St Andrews on Saturday.

Dimitar Berbatov marked his first Spurs game on English soil with two goals in the pre-season contest against Birmingham at St Andrews on Saturday.

The first was super cool - calmly slotting past Maik Taylor in the Birmingham goal. The second was simply stunning and it is doubtful whether Taylor caught sight of the Bulgarian's shot as it went flying into his net.

The goals came pretty early - with Berbatov putting his marker down for the season ahead - before the game settled down as the rain poured from the Midlands sky.

Martin Jol fielded an experimental side with the World Cup players, along with new signing Didier Zokora only just back in training or set to begin on Monday. Wayne Routledge was operating in the right full-back role, with new boy Benoit Assou-Ekotto on the opposite flank.

There was a three-man midfield of Teemu Tainio, Hossam Ghaly and Tom Huddlestone, along with a three-pronged attack featuring Berbatov, Jermain Defoe and Robbie Keane - with the latter dropping the deeper.

It was Defoe who was quick to demonstrate his intentions with a power drive after five minutes which took a slight deflection to divert around the post, while Cameron Jerome forced Marton Fulop to be a bit nifty in getting off his line a few moments later after a speedy dash through the middle.

At the other end, Keane and Berbatov were setting about getting their eye in, but Maik Taylor was equal to the task at this stage.

The clearest chance came on ten minutes when, following a cleared cross from the right, Routledge dinked the ball back into the danger area with one Michael Dawson the recipient. Daws seemed more surprised than anyone to find himself with the ball at his feet a few yards from goal and when he reacted Taylor advanced and smothered the ball.

Two minutes later a deserved goal was recorded. Keane picked out Berbatov to the right of the Birmingham area and the Bulgarian turned in an instant and shot low across Taylor and into the net.

Better was to come on 14 minutes when the striker effortlessly took a long ball in his stride and, from the edge of the area, literally rifled the ball past a stunned Taylor with incredible power.

The home side - including Stephen Kelly and with Stephen Clemence on the bench - looked deflated and Defoe came very close to adding to the sinking feeling when he struck first time just inches over the bar after a poor clearance from Martin Taylor.

Tainio was not far off with his header in what was the closest to a third before referee Mr Riley sounded the whistle for half-time.

The pouring rain ceased at the beginning of the second period as Birmingham stepped up their collective energy levels and began closing down and snapping into a few more tackles in midfield.

Reto Ziegler was introduced in place of Ghaly just over ten minutes into the half, just before Berbatov was just a foot or so away from a hat-trick after connecting sweetly with the ball on the fall in the area, but seeing his effort flash wide.

Keane was then given the rest of the afternoon off and was replaced by Danny Murphy, quickly followed by the swap of Philip Ifil and Calum Davenport for Wayne Routledge and Ledley King.

Fulop had to be alert to deny substitute Mikael Forrsell low to his left as Steve Bruce's side continued in sprightly mode. Having made his big impression, Berbatov was withdrawn and Lee Barnard was added to the pre-season mix.

Barnard was quickly in on the shooting act, but not enough to trouble Taylor unduly. Control of the game was regained though and the young striker was linking up well well with Murphy in a quest for a third.

That quest continued into the final few minutes with Murphy's goalbound shot blocked by Johnson and Taylor holding onto Huddlestone's 20-yard rasper. Jamie O'Hara was our last substitute for Defoe with a couple of minutes left and that was that.