Newcastle beats Tottenham 2-1 in opening match

Hatem Ben Arfa gave Newcastle a winning start to the Premier

League season Saturday, clinching a 2-1 victory over Tottenham

after manager Alan Pardew had been sent off for pushing a match

official.

Ben Arfa scored from the penalty spot in the 80th minute after

being tripped by Rafael van der Vaart, four minutes after Jermain

Defoe appeared to have salvaged a point for Tottenham.

Just before Tottenham’s leveler – with Newcastle leading through

Demba Ba’s goal – Pardew was sent to the stands by referee Martin

Atkinson for a furious response to a touchline incident.

”It was ridiculous, I apologize publicly,” Pardew said after

the match. ”I thought the ball was out, I shoved him (referee’s

assistant Stuart Burt). I have pleaded with my players to behave

and follow the Olympic spirit.

”I can only apologize. I’ve been to see him and told him I

didn’t know what I was thinking.”

Pardew could be facing a Football Association misconduct charge

despite his contrition.

At least his players delivered on the pitch.

But it was a miserable day all round for Tottenham counterpart

Andre Villas-Boas in his first competitive match since replacing

Harry Redknapp, who was fired despite the team finishing fourth in

May, one place above Newcastle.

”We deserved more, played well, had the chances in the first

half and pushed in the second,” said Villas-Boas, who was fired by

Chelsea in March. ”We deserved something extra for the effort we

did and the game we played. We showed why we did so well last

season and deserved more.”

Spurs looked sharper in the first half when shots by Defoe and

Gareth Bale hit the goal frame.

A low-key encounter sprung into life 10 minutes into the second

half when Ba scored his first goal since February against the run

of play.

Danny Simpson’s high ball into the box was only half-headed

clear by Kyle Walker, and Ba responded by sending a curling shot

high into the net from the corner of the box.

Spurs equalized in the 76th when Aaron Lennon crossed into a

crowded box and Defoe wriggled free to fire past Tim Krul at the

second attempt after his initial header had been parried by the

goalkeeper.

After Ben Arfa restored Newcastle’s lead from the penalty spot,

Jonas Gutierrez almost extended Newcastle’s advantage with an

ambitious looping effort but Brad Friedel tipped it over the

bar.