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Tottenham tops West Ham in London derby
by Ian Plenderleith, December 9th, 2008 7AM
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[ENGLAND] Two second-half goals saw Tottenham Hotspur beat fellow Londoners West Ham United, 2-0, and continue its strong form since manager Harry Redknapp took over in October when it was winless and bottom of the league. The victory moved Spurs above West Ham on goal difference and into 15th place, three points ahead of the relegation zone.
Tottenham deserved the win by creating the better chances and playing the more fluent soccer in an average to decent game. Its goals came from a Ledley King header on 68 minutes and a wicked strike from Jamie O'Hara in the final minute, right after Tottenham's maligned keeper Heurelho Gomes saved the game for his team with saves from close-range efforts by Lucas Neill and David di Michele. In the first half, Tottenham's Russian striker Roman Pavlyuchenko struck the post.
West Ham moaned about a penalty not given when Tottenham defender Benoit Assou-Ekotto possibly handled inside the penalty area. "It was a clear penalty when it was 1-0," manager Gianfranco Zola claimed. "The referee is a human being, he can make mistakes. Unfortunately for us it was a disappointing game because it was one we all wanted to win. I understand the fans' frustration. We gave everything to make them happy."
Redknapp, also a former West Ham manager, diplomatically claimed that he wanted to see West Ham "win every week" when they're not playing his team, but said Tottenham "were good value and deserved to win even after missing some great chances. We passed the ball well tonight at times and eventually we got the goal."
Goals scored weekend Dec. 6-8: 26 in 10 games (2.6 per game)
Goals scored 2008-09 season: 413 in 159 games (2.6 per game)


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