Reading 1-3 Tottenham
Andre Villas-Boas secured his first victory as Tottenham manager as Premier League newcomers Reading were outclassed at the Madejski Stadium.
The Portuguese has already faced questions about his future after only three games in charge - but this powerful performance and convincing win provided an emphatic response.
Jermain Defoe gave Spurs an early lead and such was the scale of their domination that Villas-Boas might have been frustrated it took until the 71st minute for Gareth Bale to double their advantage.
Defoe then concluded a 50-yard run with a powerful angled finish as Reading - overrun throughout - faded badly, even though Hal Robson-Kanu pulled a goal back in stoppage time.
It was a display that will have given Villas-Boas great heart, with Mousa Dembele and Sandro providing power and fluidity in midfield alongside another newcomer, former Reading man Gylfi Sigurdsson.
And in Defoe they have a poacher in prime form, aided by the pace and width of Bale and Aaron Lennon.
For Reading, understandably rusty after 25 days without a game, this was a chastening lesson in what will be required to survive in the top tier, although they met a Spurs team in no mood for anything other than victory after their indifferent start to the season.
Villas-Boas made good on his promise to keep faith with keeper Brad Friedel in preference to new signing Hugo Lloris - but the decision was an irrelevance throughout a first half totally controlled by the visitors.
In contrast, Reading keeper Alex McCarthy, in for the injured Adam Federici, was swiftly employed as he made a smart save from Sigurdsson's header and Jan Vertonghen's powerful follow-up.
Spurs were a constant threat and it was no surprise when they took the lead after 18 minutes. Sigurdsson's precise pass opened up space for Lennon to cross and Defoe to finish with typical efficiency.
The hosts looked overawed and elementary errors did not help their cause. Defoe stole the ball off keeper McCarthy as he dawdled in the area and it needed a rescuing block on the line from Alex Pearce to stop Sigurdsson adding a second.
Then Ian Harte, who had struggled to contain the pace of Lennon, carelessly presented possession to Defoe but Spurs were unable to benefit and the Royals escaped again.
Reading adopted a more attacking approach at the start of the second half with Adam Le Fondre on for Jem Karacan - but it was still the London side creating the opportunities.
Defoe held his head in anguish as a shot from Dembele struck him in the six-yard area but somehow landed the wrong side of the post with McCarthy wrong-footed.
A second goal looked inevitable and finally came 19 minutes from time when Kyle Walker broke into the area and pulled the ball back for Bale, whose half-hit finish deceived McCarthy.
And with the home side's spirit broken, the third goal followed quickly, Defoe breaking from the halfway line to outpace the defence and send a crisp finish into the far corner to put gloss on a fine Spurs performance that even the concession of Robson-Kanu's goal could not tarnish.
Reading manager Brian McDermott:
"I thought we were too submissive and didn't get on the ball enough or in their faces. I made some changes and we were much better in the second half.
"We came up against a very good side today and they deserved the win.
"We've got to move on very, very quickly. Today was a learning curve for all of us. Spurs is a team full of world-class performers, but we didn't cause enough problems for them, especially in the first half.
"We should have had a penalty in the first half when it was 0-0, and we scored a goal at the end. We can also draw positives from 20 minutes in the second half.
"We have a fantastic bunch of people working here and I know what I will get out of them next Saturday."
Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas:
"I'm extremely happy for [Defoe]. He is such a prolific striker for club and country. It's amazing how he sniffs out goal-scoring opportunities and makes the most of them.
"I know there were questions being raised about him being played up front on his own. On his own or with Emmanuel Adebayor alongside him, I think Jermain can continue to produce these kind of attacking opportunities.
"I'm extremely happy with the performance. The players showed tremendous commitment, responsibility and concentration. They understood that we have been working so hard and they deserved to get this first win."
On perceived criticism from predecessor Harry Redknapp in a Saturday newspaper interview: "In the end it's not about the manager, it's about the players. Different kinds of managers have different leadership styles and the way they go about his business."
- 21 McCarthy
- 02 Gunter
- 05 Pearce
- 17 Gorkss
- 23 Harte
- 04 Karacan (Le Fondre - 46' )
- 08 Leigertwood
- 11 McAnuff
- 20 Guthrie (Robson-Kanu - 83' )
- 07 Pogrebniak (Hunt - 83' )
- 12 McCleary
- 41 Taylor
- 03 Shorey
- 06 Mariappa
- 24 Cummings
- 19 Robson-Kanu
- 09 Le Fondre
- 10 Hunt
- 24 Friedel
- 05 Vertonghen
- 13 Gallas
- 16 Naughton
- 28 Walker
- 07 Lennon (Townsend - 87' )
- 11 Bale (Dempsey - 78' )
- 22 Sigurdsson (Huddlestone - 72' )
- 30 Sandro
- 18 Defoe Booked
- 19 Dembele
- 25 Lloris
- 20 Dawson
- 33 Caulker
- 02 Dempsey
- 06 Huddlestone
- 31 Townsend
- 10 Adebayor
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee blows for the end of the match.90:00 +3:29
Outswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Ian Harte, William Gallas makes a clearance.90:00 +2:42
Alex McCarthy takes the indirect free kick.90:00 +2:42 Booking
Booking The referee shows Jermain Defoe a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.90:00 +2:38
Jermain Defoe challenges Ian Harte unfairly and gives away a free kick.90:00 +0:54
Hal Robson-Kanu is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. Free kick taken by Brad Friedel.89:51
The assist for the goal came from Adam Le Fondre.89:51 Goal scored
Goal! - Hal Robson-Kanu - Reading 1 - 3 Tottenham Hal Robson-Kanu scores a goal from close range high into the middle of the goal. Reading 1-3 Tottenham.89:04
Jermain Defoe produces a right-footed shot from inside the area that clears the crossbar.88:15
Hal Robson-Kanu is caught offside. Free kick taken by Kyle Walker.86:36 Substitution
Substitution Andros Townsend comes on in place of Aaron Lennon.85:55
Corner taken by Ian Harte, William Gallas makes a clearance.85:37
Adam Le Fondre takes a shot. William Gallas gets a block in.85:23
Garath McCleary delivers the ball, Kyle Walker makes a clearance.84:21
Ian Harte produces a cross, Clint Dempsey manages to make a clearance. Corner taken left-footed by Ian Harte from the left by-line to the near post, clearance made by Clint Dempsey.82:20 Substitution
Substitution Noel Hunt on for Pavel Pogrebnyak.82:20 Substitution
Substitution Hal Robson-Kanu replaces Danny Guthrie.77:08
Indirect free kick taken by Kyle Walker.77:08 Substitution
Substitution Clint Dempsey replaces Gareth Bale.77:08
Mikele Leigertwood gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Mousa Dembele.
Effort on goal by Jobi McAnuff from just outside the penalty area goes harmlessly over the target.73:32
Mousa Dembele provided the assist for the goal.73:32 Goal scored
Goal! - Jermain Defoe - Reading 0 - 3 Tottenham Jermain Defoe grabs a goal from inside the penalty area to the top right corner of the goal. Reading 0-3 Tottenham.73:02
The ball is sent over by Garath McCleary.72:50
Free kick awarded for a foul by Raniere Sandro on Pavel Pogrebnyak. Pavel Pogrebnyak takes the direct free kick.72:19
Tom Huddlestone takes a shot. Save by Alex McCarthy.71:54 Substitution
Substitution Gylfi Sigurdsson leaves the field to be replaced by Tom Huddlestone.70:49
Assist on the goal came from Kyle Walker.70:49 Goal scored
Goal! - Gareth Bale - Reading 0 - 2 Tottenham Goal scored by Gareth Bale from inside the penalty area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Reading 0-2 Tottenham.69:07
Kaspars Gorkss delivers the ball, clearance by Kyle Walker.65:39
Jermain Defoe produces a left-footed shot from inside the area that clears the crossbar.62:58
Corner taken by Danny Guthrie, clearance by Raniere Sandro.61:21
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Danny Guthrie, Kyle Walker makes a clearance.60:49
The referee blows for offside. Kaspars Gorkss takes the free kick. Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Ian Harte, Jan Vertonghen manages to make a clearance.59:22
Effort from 18 yards by Gylfi Sigurdsson. Danny Guthrie gets a block in.58:41
Corner taken short by Gylfi Sigurdsson.57:32
Shot from just outside the penalty area by Gareth Bale misses to the left of the target.56:27
A cross is delivered by Jobi McAnuff, clearance by Gylfi Sigurdsson.55:25
Raniere Sandro challenges Pavel Pogrebnyak unfairly and gives away a free kick. The free kick is swung in left-footed by Ian Harte.54:49
Gareth Bale sends in a cross, clearance by Alex Pearce.53:16
The ball is sent over by Garath McCleary, clearance by Kyle Walker. Mousa Dembele takes a shot. Jermain Defoe has an effort at goal from the edge of the box that misses to the right of the target.50:12
Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Gylfi Sigurdsson, Kaspars Gorkss makes a clearance.49:50
Centre by Chris Gunter, clearance by Gylfi Sigurdsson.47:11
Foul by Mousa Dembele on Danny Guthrie, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Danny Guthrie.46:03
The ball is crossed by Garath McCleary.45:49
The ball is swung over by Ian Harte, clearance made by Gylfi Sigurdsson.45:12
A cross is delivered by Garath McCleary, Kyle Walker makes a clearance.45:01
The game restarts for the second half.45:01 Substitution
Substitution Adam Le Fondre comes on in place of Jem Karacan.45:00 +2:01 Half time
Half Time It is the end of the first-half.45:00 +0:38
Gylfi Sigurdsson produces a left-footed shot from just outside the box that goes wide right of the goal.44:03
Mousa Dembele takes a shot. Kaspars Gorkss gets a block in. Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Gylfi Sigurdsson, Pavel Pogrebnyak manages to make a clearance.42:26
A cross is delivered by Jobi McAnuff, Kyle Naughton manages to make a clearance. Corner from the right by-line taken by Danny Guthrie, Jan Vertonghen manages to make a clearance.40:30
Jermain Defoe has an effort at goal from outside the penalty area missing to the wide left of the goal.39:06
Jobi McAnuff produces a right-footed shot from inside the area that clears the bar.34:57
Raniere Sandro challenges Pavel Pogrebnyak unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick crossed by Ian Harte, Mousa Dembele manages to make a clearance.32:52
Aaron Lennon is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Indirect free kick taken by Alex McCarthy.31:03
Unfair challenge on Garath McCleary by Kyle Naughton results in a free kick. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Danny Guthrie, Kyle Walker gets a block in.30:38
Gylfi Sigurdsson takes a shot. Alex Pearce gets a block in.27:30
Free kick awarded for a foul by Gylfi Sigurdsson on Jem Karacan. Danny Guthrie takes the free kick.27:05
Handball decision goes against Jermain Defoe. Alex McCarthy takes the indirect free kick.23:12
Effort from the edge of the penalty area by Jermain Defoe goes wide of the left-hand post.21:51
Kyle Naughton concedes a free kick for a foul on Garath McCleary. Free kick crossed by Ian Harte, clearance by Kyle Walker.20:38
Raniere Sandro takes a shot. Save by Alex McCarthy.20:08
The ball is sent over by Raniere Sandro.19:18
Garath McCleary gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Gareth Bale. Free kick crossed right-footed by Gylfi Sigurdsson, save by Alex McCarthy.17:01
The assist for the goal came from Aaron Lennon.17:01 Goal scored
Goal! - Jermain Defoe - Reading 0 - 1 Tottenham Jermain Defoe finds the back of the net with a goal from inside the area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Reading 0-1 Tottenham.15:25
The ball is swung over by Kyle Naughton.11:32
Jermain Defoe produces a right-footed shot from just outside the box that goes wide right of the target.10:40
Alex Pearce concedes a free kick for a foul on Kyle Walker. Direct free kick taken by Brad Friedel.9:21
Free kick awarded for a foul by Jan Vertonghen on Pavel Pogrebnyak. Free kick crossed by Danny Guthrie, Kyle Walker makes a clearance.7:53
Jermain Defoe takes a shot. Blocked by Kaspars Gorkss.6:17
Handball decision goes against Jermain Defoe. Free kick taken by Jem Karacan.3:42
Ian Harte gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Aaron Lennon. The ball is delivered by Gareth Bale, Gylfi Sigurdsson takes a shot. Save made by Alex McCarthy. Jan Vertonghen takes a shot. Save by Alex McCarthy. Corner taken by Gylfi Sigurdsson, clearance by Kaspars Gorkss. Shot by Gareth Bale from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the goal.3:11
Garath McCleary produces a cross, save by Brad Friedel.1:54
The ball is delivered by Kyle Naughton, clearance by Kaspars Gorkss. Kyle Walker takes a shot from deep inside the box clearing the bar.0:19
Aaron Lennon delivers the ball, Alex Pearce manages to make a clearance.0:00
The ref blows the whistle to begin the match.
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