Norwich 0-2 Tottenham

By Mike HensonBBC Sport
Gareth Bale (centre) scores his second goal at Norwich
The Norwich defence had no answer to the pace of Bale (centre)

Gareth Bale struck twice to underline Tottenham's title credentials with a comfortable 2-0 win over Norwich.

Bale shot over before the break but found his range in the second half.

The Welshman swept home Emmanuel Adebayor's lay-off from 10 yards out before his searing pace took him clear of the defence to clip home a second.

Redknapp hails brace-scoring Bale

Spurs are within seven points of the top, four points clear of fourth-placed Chelsea and five ahead of Arsenal with a game in hand on all around them.

The trip to Carrow Road was a chance for Harry Redknapp's side to take advantage after their two closest London rivals and leaders Manchester City failed to take maximum points from Premier League clashes in the last two days.

After an even opening quarter, the visitors' greater quality told through Bale, who snuffed out the Canaries' hopes of a fightback with a blistering run for the second.

Norwich's attack centred on a front pair of Steve Morison and Grant Holt, but Younes Kaboul at the heart of the Tottenham defence dominated in the air.

Instead, Norwich were mostly restricted to long-range efforts with Morison and David Fox trying their luck from distance early on.

Tottenham also initially struggled to create genuine goal-scoring opportunities, with Bale, Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart zipping passes around to little effect.

Their first clear opportunity duly came courtesy of a mistake from Russell Martin, who was hustled off the ball by Bale, but the midfielder scooped his finish well over the top as he bore down on the Norwich goal.

That chance seemed to spark Tottenham into life.

Emmanuel Adebayor's touch proved a fraction heavy as he guided Van der Vaart's exquisite long ball round John Ruddy, before the goalkeeper did well to smother Bale's shot from Modric's weighted pass.

Tottenham finished the first half in the ascendancy and should have had a penalty when Morison cynically tripped William Gallas as they waited for Van der Vaart's free-kick.

Referee Michael Oliver failed to detect a foul in a crowded box and the Canaries escaped down the tunnel with the scoreline still blank.

After his two earlier misses Bale found the net within 10 minutes of the restart as Adebayor held off a mob of Norwich defenders with strength and quick feet before laying the ball off for him to send a scuffed finish bobbling past Ruddy's outstretched hand.

Norwich pressed forward in pursuit of an equaliser but inevitably left themselves exposed them to Tottenham's ability to break at speed.

Lambert admires 'top' Spurs

When the home side surrendered possession in midfield, Modric had space and time to play in Bale, who surged through the remnants of the defence from the halfway line and dinked a composed finish past Ruddy.

With Norwich unable to prise their way back into the game, Tottenham's travelling fans took the chance to taunt north London neighbour Arsenal, who had earlier in the day.

Martin almost gave the Norwich supporters a consolation to cheer when his header drifted wide of the upright in stoppage time.

Norwich boss Paul Lambert:

"It's disappointing to lose but we gave it everything we had. They've got quality all over the pitch.

"I've got to have a realism factor, where we came from and the team we are up against."

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