Tim Krul’s heroics help Newcastle to victory over Spurs

Dutch goalkeeper makes string of world-class saves for Magpies

Newcastle United’s Loic Remy (second from right) scores against Tottenham Hotspur during the Premier League  match at White Hart Lane. Photograph:  Eddie Keogh/Reuters

Newcastle United’s Loic Remy (second from right) scores against Tottenham Hotspur during the Premier League match at White Hart Lane. Photograph: Eddie Keogh/Reuters

 

Tottenham 0 Newcastle 1: The pre-match discussion had been about the absence of one goalkeeper and there would be plenty of questions afterwards about Hugo Lloris’s non-appearance for Tottenham Hotspur. But for 90 minutes, this gripping Premier League encounter was dominated by another goalkeeper, with Tim Krul making the impossible seem possible at times and, almost single-handedly, inspiring Newcastle United to victory.

The second-half came to resemble a siege, with Tottenham committing numbers forward and creating openings. Newcastle struggled to escape their half. But Tottenham could not beat Dutchman Krul.

He had made two wonderful first-half saves to deny Roberto Soldado and Paulinho but his excellence was underlined by his work early in the second-half. Having thwarted Christian Eriksen, he pulled off what amounted to a triple save to keep out Glyfi Sigurdsson’s free-kick and then the substitute Younes Kaboul’s two rebounds. It beggared belief.

The die felt cast from that moment. Tottenham could try anything and they would not score. Krul did not miss a beat and the home team knew that it would not be their day when Jan Vertonghen’s 84th minute header crashed off the crossbar.

Tottenham’s scoring woes continue; they have nine goals in 11 league matches (three of them penalties) but this was not a bad performance from them. The boos at full-time from the home crowd was motivated by frustration rather than anger.

At full-time, as the visiting hoards rejoiced, Newcastle’s players made for Krul to embrace him. He even got a hug from Tony Parkes, the Tottenham goalkeeping coach and fellow union member. After the low of the derby defeat to Sunderland, Newcastle have now followed the home win over Chelsea with an equally notable triumph.

Alan Pardew, the manager, had been bold with his starting selection, with two strikers and threat in wide areas and his team took an early grip. The goal had been advertised, with Loïc Rémy having already streaked onto a through-ball from the excellent Yohan Cabaye only to be put off by the covering Vlad Chiriches. When opportunity knocked again, minutes later, Rémy’s finish was lethal.

Tottenham found themselves harassed by Newcastle’s pressing and the result was a loose ball that dropped Paulinho in trouble. Yoan Gouffran robbed him and he twisted the knife with the slide-rule pass for Rémy.

The striker, in whom Tottenham had been interested when he left Queens Park Rangers in the summer, rounded Brad Friedel and, although the goalkeeper got a touch to the ball, it was not enough to foil Rémy, who tucked away his seventh league goal on his eighth start for Newcastle.

The game was fast, open and enjoyable. Tottenham’s defensive line was fragile in the early running and Newcastle threatened to get in behind it while Friedel endured nervous moments. Newcastle sought to examine him. He was slow to leave his line on Rémy’s goal.

It had been a surprise to see Friedel, given André Villas-Boas’s contention during the week that Lloris was basically fine after the head injury that he suffered at Everton the previous Sunday. Tottenham admitted before the game that Lloris, who is in line to face Ukraine with France in the World Cup play-offs, needed more rest. In other words, he was not fine.

Tottenham struggled for rhythm in the first-half but they did create chances and, but for Krul, they would have level at the interval. The Newcastle goalkeeper made instinctive saves that were of the highest order to repel first Soldado’s flicked header and then Paulinho’s first-time effort at the top-corner. He also turned away Eriksen’s pot-shot. Krul made light of the bright sun that was in his eyes. Early in the second-half, a squinting Friedel sent for a baseball cap.

Krul’s heroics were just beginning. Tottenham ratcheted up the pressure at the beginning of the second-half and Eriksen looked certain to score after a flowing move. Krul, though, denied him from 12 yards with his feet. On the touchline, Villas-Boas mouthed one word: wow.

He was still more incredulous when Krul made his next save. Everybody inside the stadium was. Even after all of the replays, it remained something of a mystery how the ball stayed out of the Newcastle goal.

Sigurdsson’s free-kick deflected heavily off Cheick Tioté but Krul changed direction, threw out a hand and saved. In came Kaboul and, from point-blank range, Krul got to up to block from him twice before Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa hooked clear from in front of the line.

The pattern became established. Tottenham pushing, desperate to soothe the nerves of their fans; Newcastle putting bodies on the line in defence.

Pardew brought on Vernon Anita, an extra midfielder, while Villas-Boas introduced Jermain Defoe, a second striker.

There were mutterings from the home crowd when Soldado blasted one chance wide and headed another at Krul, after Andros Townsend had seen a shot parried. Townsend also tested Krul from distance while the goalkeeper denied Paulinho again. It was an afternoon when nothing would pass.

(Guardian Service)

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