Tottenham defeat QPR 2-1 in an entertaining encounter
London: Tottenham enjoyed their first home win of the season with a 2-1 victory over a spirited QPR side during a hugely entertaining game at White Hart Lane.
After an enterprising start, the visitors got their reward and took the lead through Bobby Zamora after a cute through ball from Alejandro Faurlin on the edge of the box, saw the former Tottenham striker deftly finish with aplomb.
While Tottenham struggled to fashion any clear-cut openings in the first half, they were an altogether different prospect in the second half and they grabbed two goals in quick succession, firstly through an Alejandro Faurlin own goal before Jermain Defoe put them ahead by tapping home from six yards out after a fantastic break.
Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas restored Brad Friedel to the starting line-up after handing Hugo Lloris his debut against Lazio in the Europa League, while William Gallas replaced Steven Caulker at centre-half.
Clint Dempsey was handed his first start in the top flight for his new club at the expense of Kyle Naughton, with Gareth Bale surprisingly shifted to left-back.
QPR manager Mark Hughes replaced Anton Ferdinand with Clint Hill in defence, while Junior Hoilett came in for the injured Andy Johnson, who looks to be out for the season after picking up an anterior cruciate ligament injury against Chelsea.
The hosts had the first chance of the match when Aaron Lennon managed to get in behind the QPR defence down the right before cutting back a neat ball to Defoe, but their penalty appeals were waved away after Clint Hill went in hard on the England striker.
Moments later, Hill forced good save out of Friedel at the other end after meeting Esteban Granero`s corner well to turn a thumping header towards goal, but the 41-year-old managed to get a strong hand to it to force it over the bar.
With the visitors beginning to come into the game more and more, Kyle Walker got caught horribly under a high ball into the box at the back post, only to see Hoilett bring another fabulous stop out of Freidel after unleashing a fierce volley on goal, which the veteran goalkeeper proved more than equal to.
Tottenham then saw a goal correctly ruled out for offside just before the half-hour mark, with Defoe latching on to Bale`s lovely through ball before playing it across the box for the Welshman to tap home from six yards out unmarked before the officials stepped in to chalk it off.
With the game starting to open up more and more, it was QPR who took the lead in the 32nd minute through Zamora, after he latched on to Faurlin`s superb reverse pass into the box from the edge of the area, before showing good composure to lift it past the onrushing Friedel.
QPR continued their lively spell as they sought to press home their dominance with another goal and the impressive Hoilett managed to get away from Sandro down the left before letting fly with a vicious effort from distance which Friedel managed to palm away.
Tottenham were struggling to live with the tempo of the game in what was becoming an increasingly flat performance by them and after a series of cracks on goal from range which failed to trouble Julio Cesar, they went in at the break a goal behind.
This prompted Villas-Boas to shift his side around for the second period, making a tactical change, bringing on Caulker for the anonymous Sigurdsson, which saw Bale moved to the left wing, Vertonghen to left-back and Dempsey pushed inside to support the lone striker.
These changes saw the home side find their shape and after Dempsey managed to turn Granero on the centre circle, he had a powerful strike from distance well saved by the unorthodox technique of Julio Cesar, who had yet to be properly tested.
This seemingly shook the team into life and Gallas had a header from the resulting Bale corner tipped away by the Hoops` goalkeeper, before they had a strong penalty appeal again turned down after Shaun Wright-Phillips appeared to use his arm to control the ball as he hacked the ball clear.
Nevertheless, after starting the half with renewed purpose, they didn`t have to wait too much longer for the equaliser, even if it came courtesy of an unlikely source, with an own goal from the man who created QPR`s opener, Faurlin scoring after some concerted Tottenham pressure from a corner in the 59th minute.
This seemed to open the floodgates, though and they were ahead just ninety seconds later through Defoe in the 61st minute after a terrific break-away move which saw Vertonghen surge up the pitch with the ball before laying it off to Bale on the left of the box who then had his drive tipped onto the bar by Julio Cesar, but the in-form England striker was there to tap home into the empty net to complete a dramatic turnaround.
Vertonghen then zipped in a dangerous low cross from the left which Julio Cesar managed to get a hand on it to turn the ball away and he was forced into action straight again afterwards as Bale`s low drive from a narrow angle was again kept out by the Brazilian stopper.
With the tempo ramped up and a real end-to-end contest in the making, Dempsey tested the man in the QPR goal again with another effort from outside the box, before Vertonghen got back to halt a promising move with Hoilett set to pull the trigger, leaping in with a superb last-ditch tackle after some tidy work from Zamora to create the chance.
Hughes` side were beginning to leave gaps behind them as they pushed further up the pitch in pursuit of an equaliser and after a mazy run from Lennon played in Bale, the winger shifted past Hill onto his right foot before seeing his effort saved by Julio Cesar with a smart stop at his near post.
An excellent piece of defending from Clint Hill denied Defoe his 200th career goal as the game entered the final ten minutes, after he managed to get a toe onto the ball after the striker cut back onto his left after being out in on goal by a Dempsey through ball and he was denied in stoppage time again with Julio Cesar getting down well to keep out another low strike after being played in by substitute Andros Townsend.
With the game showing no signs of slowing down, though, the hosts were able to see out the game despite their obvious nerves to secure an important win during what was a fabulously entertaining contest.