LONDON (AFP) – A virtuoso performance by Gareth Bale and a brace of goals from Jermain Defoe saw Tottenham Hotspur beat West Ham United 3-1 on Sunday to end a run of three straight league defeats.
Defoe opened the scoring on the cusp of half-time with an excellent individual effort, with Bale doubling Spurs’ lead in the 58th minute before Defoe tapped home his second goal.
Andy Carroll’s first West Ham goal provided consolation for the visitors, who face Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool in their next three games.
The victory took Andre Villas-Boas’ side above West Ham and Swansea City into seventh place, level on points with north London rivals Arsenal and five points below the Champions League places.
The game at White Hart Lane also marked the return of referee Mark Clattenburg, who was the fourth official in his first engagement since he was cleared over allegations he racially abused Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel.
Bale’s play was full of purpose throughout and his first sight of goal in the 11th minute saw him slam a shot against the crossbar.
West Ham goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen saved from Clint Dempsey shortly after but he had no response to Defoe’s scorching strike in the 44th minute.
The former West Ham striker picked up possession wide on the right and darted past two defenders before jinking inside Mark Noble and thrashing a low drive into the bottom-right corner from 20 yards.
Bale saw a 35-yard free-kick whistle narrowly wide early in the second half and also tested Jaaskelainen from distance, while at the other end, Hugo Lloris saved from Matt Jarvis after a lay-off from Kevin Nolan.
Bale scored the goal his performance merited shortly before the hour, collecting Dempsey’s scooped through-ball and adjusting his body in mid-air to guide an awkward half-volley into the bottom-left corner.
Defoe made it 3-0 six minutes later, touching home Aaron Lennon’s low cross after Carroll was dispossessed in midfield.
The on-loan Liverpool striker partially atoned eight minutes from time, sending a looping header over Lloris after Steven Caulker’s clearance fell straight to Jarvis.