- POSTED: 17 Aug 2014 06:27
Eric Dier's goal on his debut for Spurs gave coach Mauro Pochettino victory in his first game in charge as they beat West Ham 1-0 on Saturday (Aug 16) in a game that saw both sides reduced to 10 men.
LONDON: Eric Dier's goal on his debut for Spurs gave coach Mauro Pochettino victory in his first game in charge as they beat West Ham 1-0 on Saturday (Aug 16) in a game that saw both sides reduced to 10 men.
Dier, an England Under-21 international who was signed from Sporting Lisbon in the close season, showed skills more worthy of a striker than the defender that he is as he raced through to take Harry Kane's lovely weighted pass and slot past Adrian in the third minute of time added on.
The goal provoked Argentine Pochettino - Spurs 10th manager in 12 years - into exuberant celebrations on the touchline as he begins his campaign to achieve the top four finish set for him by the board.
West Ham lacked much of a cutting edge up front with Carlton Cole leading the line in the absence of the injured Andy Carroll while Ecuadorean striker Enner Valencia, signed for £12 million (S$24.9 million) after an impressive World Cup, is still not match fit.
However, West Ham spurned a glorious chance to break the deadlock just before the half hour mark. Referee Chris Foy awarded a penalty after consulting with his linesman and to rub salt into the wound sent off Spurs defender Kyle Naughton for deliberate handball as he blocked Kevin Nolan's close range shot. However, Mark Noble sent his penalty just wide of the post - his first miss in his past 11 penalties - and provoked Hammers manager Sam Allardyce to put his head in his hands.
Despite the one man advantage West Ham were unable to fashion many chances save for one good effort by Stewart Downing which went over the bar. Spurs it was who put together some of the more eye-catching moves through Danny Rose but without conjuring up a shot on target.
Foy then wielded his second red card in the 63rd minute as a typically robust block by James Collins on Emmaunel Adebayor saw the defender receive his second yellow. This prompted a flurry of attacks by Spurs, with Andros Townsend forcing Adrian into a superb save, tipping his fierce drive over the bar, and the same player sent a shot from the edge of the area just wide.
Noble had a shot from the edge of the area saved well by Hugo Lloris and the match appeared to be petering out until Dier's moment of inspiration at the end.