The Spanish striker stepped up to the
mark for the third time this season, converting from 12 yards after a
handball inside the area from Ahmed Elmohamady, sending Steve Harper the
wrong way to give us a hard-fought three points. The win sees us climb
back up to fourth in the Premier League table.
Andre Villas-Boas made just the one
change from last week’s win at Villa Park, with Aaron Lennon replacing
Gylfi Sigurdsson for his first Premier League start since the opening
day of the season at Crystal Palace, having picked up an injury that day
at Selhurst Park.
There was a familiar face in the visitors
line-up with Tom Huddlestone back at the Lane following his summer move
to the KC Stadium and he received a warm welcome from the Spurs
faithful prior to kick-off. And it was the Hull midfielder who created
the first opportunity of the game, sending over a free-kick which Paul
McShane headed wide on seven minutes.
Our first opportunity also came from a
set-piece, Paulinho flicking Lewis Holtby’s free-kick just over after 13
minutes, and three minutes later Andros Townsend was denied by a great
save from City keeper Steve Harper. The England winger led the attack,
laid it inside to Paulinho before receiving the return and curling a
left-foot shot which Harper palmed away for a corner.
Hull were certainly a threat themselves
coming forward and after Hugo Lloris saved comfortably from George Boyd,
he made a fine stop to keep Yannick Sagbo’s angled drive out on 19
minutes. And from a corner two minutes later, Michael Dawson and Sandro
were in the right place to block shots from Boyd and Sagbo respectively.
Huddlestone then let fly with a trademark
volley from the edge of the area, which went a couple of yards over,
and a right old scramble around the edge of the Hull box followed 10
minutes from the break but we weren’t able to find space to get a shot
The last chance of the half saw Kyle
Walker sting the palms of Harper with a rasping 25-yard drive from the
left edge of the area after Vlad Chiriches had been upended.
The second period saw the introduction of
Mousa Dembele in place of Sandro, the recipient of an early yellow
card, and we looked to start the half on the front foot, enjoying the
lion’s share of possession in the early stages.
Walker fizzed in another free-kick on 53
minutes but this one was straight at Harper, and the City goalkeeper
produced another good save moments later, diving low to his left to keep
out Soldado after Townsend put him clear.
But clear chances were hard to come by as
the visitors packed their half and made themselves difficult to play
through, Paulinho trying an effort from distance on 72 minutes which
went high and wide.
We needed a breakthrough and it finally
came 10 minutes from time. Substitute Christian Eriksen worked the ball
out wide to Jan Vertonghen who clipped over a cross which hit the
outstretched arm of Elmohamady. Referee Michael Oliver pointed to the
spot and up stepped Soldado to coolly slot home the penalty, his third
successful spot-kick in the Premier League and sixth in all competitions
There then followed a nasty incident
involving Townsend who went flying over the advertising boards and into a
photographers’ pit at speed after crossing the ball. He needed lengthy
treatment and, since we’d already used our three substitutes, couldn’t
be replaced. But he returned to a rapturous welcome to help us see out
Hull kept plugging away though and there
was a heart-stopping moment in the dying seconds when Dawson conceded a
free-kick right on the edge of the area. Huddlestone stepped up and hit a
ferocious shot which went inches past the far post…and there was great
relief when the whistle blew seconds later.
Spurs: Lloris, Walker, Chiriches, Dawson,
Vertonghen, Paulinho, Sandro (Dembele 46), Lennon (Defoe 70), Holtby
(Eriksen 60), Townsend, Soldado. Substitutes (not used): Friedel,
Naughton, Sigurdsson, Lamela.
Hull: Harper, Rosenoir (McLean 84),
Davies, Bruce, McShane, Figueroa, Meyler, Huddlestone, Boyd (Brady 84),
Elmohamady, Sagbo (Proschwitz 87). Substitutes (not used): Jakupovic,
Koren, Gedo, Quinn.
Goals: Soldado (penalty, 80).
Yellows: Spurs - Sandro, Chiriches; Hull - Rosenoir, Boyd, Meyler.
Referee: Michael Oliver.