Defoe powers Spurs past West Ham
Defoe scored either side of half-time to sink his former club and Gareth Bale also found the net to give Tottenham a confident and morale-boosting win, but the contest was marred by offensive chanting from the away end at White Hart Lane.
PREMIER LEAGUE RESULTS
|Saturday, December 8|
|More: Scores | Stats | Premier League|
West Ham fans chanted "Viva Lazio" and sang the name of former Lazio and Hammers man Paolo Di Canio on several occasions - something that was hard to stomach for the home supporters who witnessed the horrifying attack on Spurs fans in Rome that ended with one man in hospital for stab wounds to his leg and head.
The Hammers fans were also heard hissing on at least three occasions during the game, which is interpreted to mimick the sound of gas released into the death chambers at concentration camps during World War Two.
For a club that has a strong affinity with the Jewish community, Tottenham's supporters are bound to be offended by the actions of the travelling support - especially after Lazio fans chanted "Juden Tottenham" during Thursday's 0-0 draw in Rome.
Back on the pitch Spurs were far the better team and hugely deserved the win, which moved the north London club above West Ham in to seventh.
The only crumb of comfort for the visitors was Andy Carroll's late header - his first goal for the club.
A Spurs victory seemed on the cards from the off. The hosts flew out of the blocks with the verve they lacked in Rome in midweek.
Defoe, constantly barracked by the away support from the whistle, looked particularly up for the contest. The 30-year-old gained a yard in the box in the first minute, but Joey O'Brien tracked back to rescue the Hammers.
He rifled a poor shot wide but then showed initiative by latching on to Sandro's through-ball soon after only to shoot straight at Jussi Jaaskelainen.
The hostile atmosphere in the stands transferred to the pitch where O'Brien was lucky to just get a booking for a dangerous late tackle on Bale.
Wet Ham fans started singing 'Viva Lazio' after around 10 minutes - a chant that clearly irked the supporters who travelled to Rome for this week's tumultuous events in the Italian capital.
Back on the pitch Spurs continued to lay siege to the West Ham goal. Bale struck a powerful shot that hit the underside of the bar and bounced off the line to Clint Dempsey who could only head straight at Jaaskelainen.
Tempers boiled over again just before the half hour when Mark Noble was booked for a rash tackle on Aaron Lennon and there were heated scenes between the two benches as Neil McDonald engaged in a spat with Jose Mario Rocha.
Trouble flared again moments later when Defoe's stamp on Winston Reid's ankle earned him a booking.
West Ham started to get back in the game towards the end of the first half. Kevin Nolan bustled in to the Spurs box but Sandro blocked the forward's shot just in time.
Spurs went immediately on the counter through Lennon, who charged at the Hammers defence before driving just wide.
The Lazio chants continued throughout the break while hissing could also be heard from the away end.
Tottenham continued their domination after the restart and it only seemed a matter of time before the second came.
Bale fired cracked a dipping 30-yard free-kick just over the bar and the Welshman drove powerfully at Jaaskelainen soon after but O'Brien cleared before Defoe could convert the rebound.
West Ham made a rare foray in to the Spurs half through Nolan, who latched on to a ball over the top but Lloris gathered his cross before Carroll could convert.
Dempsey came agonisingly close to adding a second, the American firing a peach of a drive that clattered the West Ham woodwork.
The home fans, aware of Spurs' tendency to throw games away this season, became nervous - but Dempsey put those nerves to rest when he lifted the ball over the West Ham defence and found Bale, who got the ball out from under his feet to prod past Jaaskelainen.
Six minutes later it was game over. Tom Huddlestone robbed a dallying Carroll and Sandro snatched the ball off Mohamed Diame to release Lennon. The winger sped clear off his marker and squared for Defoe, who made it 3-0.
Tottenham coasted along but their lead was reduced by one when Carroll met O'Brien's cross to head home.
Jaaskelainen saved well to prevent Defoe from grabbing a hat-trick and Bale also went close to adding his second at the death.