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Bale clinches NY opener

Robbie Keane and Gareth Bale scored the goals that got us off to a winning start in the Barclays New York Challenge against New York Red Bulls.

Robbie Keane and Gareth Bale scored the goals that got us off to a winning start in the Barclays New York Challenge against New York Red Bulls.

The team had to overcome a deficit following an opener from Thierry Henry but came back strongly in the second half on a warm evening at the Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.

The boys were quick out of the blocks with Bale making a surge in the opening minute at the beginning of a move that concluded with Tom Huddlestone working home goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul. Keane was, moments later, picked out by Bale inside the area but his effort deflected wide.

The debut-making Henry came close to opening his account for Red Bulls on seven minutes when he weaved his way through and was confronted by Carlo Cudicini - the Italian making a great stop to his left.

The Red Bulls should have taken the lead five minutes later when Macoumba Kandji's low cross fell to Seth Stammier unmarked in front of goal, the player somehow ending up kicking the ball away from Cudicini's goal.

Huddlestone's free-kick was deflected wide before a magnificent run and cross from Bale was not capitalised on in the area.

Henry did have his moment on 25 minutes when he was in position to cleverly steer home a low cross from Joel Lindpere, a goal against the run of play.

Keane nearly levelled, a header from another teasing cross from Bale being cleared off the line. Just before half-time the striker worked a route through and was denied at the last by a Stammier tackle.

Andros Townsend and Adel Taarabt were introduced after the break in place of Vedran Corluka and Kyle Naughton. Bale moved to left back from left midfield, with Huddlestone dropping back into central defence.

Niko Kranjcar tested replacement keeper Greg Sutton with a downward volley from a Townsend cross before Stammler crashed his shot narrowly wide at the other end.

Taarabt teed up Keane on the run, but the captain was denied by Sutton, before an Alan Hutton cross was scooped away from the line. Respite was only temporary.

On 62 minutes a Townsend corner was misjudged by the goalkeeper and allowed to reach Keane at the far post, who managed to steer home from close range.

Danny Rose got his chance in front of a crowd of 20,312 in the 69th minute, taking the place of Kranjcar.

The lead was snatched on 71 minutes when a long-range pass from Huddlestone in the general direction of Bale was not headed with any conviction back to goalkeeper Sutton. Bale stole in and capitalised on the uncertainty, beating the keeper to the ball and finding the net.

Ryan Mason took over from Modric with 15 minutes remaining, but the next alert was caused by Huddlestone failing to connect cleanly with a header back to Cudicini. Conor Chinn was quick to seize on the possibilities and it took an excellent block by Cudicini to prevent and equaliser.

Chinn hit the bar with a powerful header and Cudicini saved the follow up from Sinisa Ubiparipovic.

Victory was secured without further threat to the lead and now it's Sporting Lisbon at the same venue on Sunday.

Spurs: Cudicini; Hutton, Walker, Corluka (Taarabt, 46), Naughton (Townsend, 46); Kranjcar (Rose, 70), Jenas, Huddlestone, Bale; Modric (Mason, 76); Keane.