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
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
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
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