Tottenham moved up to sixth place in the Premiership as they kept up their challenge for a Uefa Cup place with a win over rivals Reading.
Tottenham's Keane scores from the spot against Reading
Robbie Keane and Dimitar Berbatov squandered one-on-one chances for the home side before Leroy Lita's header hit the post at the other end.
But Spurs went ahead when Keane tucked away a penalty after Greg Halford was harshly penalised for handball.
Jermain Defoe sent a dominant Spurs side's best chance over the bar.
Berbatov has been one of the signings of the season and the Bulgarian started off in promising fashion.
He expertly directed a header to release Aaron Lennon and he laid the ball to Malbranque.
The Frenchman's strike after only two minutes struck the outside of the post but set the tone for an attacking and free-flowing game.
Berbatov chested down a ball for Keane moments later and he should have done better than to power a shot into Marcus Hahnemann from six yards.
Hahnemann rushed to block a Berbatov shot as Reading were again sliced open before the home side were almost punished for missing their chances.
Lita was found by a pin-point cross from Glen Little only to see his six-yard header come back off the post.
Reading players complain to ref Alan Wiley over his decision to give Spurs a penalty
Spurs are flamboyant in attack but can be equally vulnerable at the other end and Dave Kitson was next to go close for Reading, with his snap-shot being saved by keeper Paul Robinson.
The home side continued to attack and they took the lead through Keane's spot-kick, with Halford the culprit for the Royals on his first Premiership start.
Reading had to replace Hahnemann with Adam Federici at half-time because of injury.
Federici was beaten when Jermaine Jenas turned and shot into goal but the effort was ruled out for offside.
Malbranque fizzed a shot just high, with Spurs pressing for a second to give them some breathing space, while Reading were clinging on.
The fear for Spurs was that they would pay the price for a host of misses, especially from substitute Defoe, but they kept their first Premiership clean sheet since October 2006 to secure a fifth straight league win.
Tottenham: Robinson, Chimbonda, Dawson, Rocha, Young-Pyo Lee, Lennon, Zokora, Jenas, Malbranque (Huddlestone 80), Berbatov, Keane (Defoe 75).
Subs Not Used: Cerny, Stalteri, Taarabt.
Goals: Keane 41 pen.
Reading: Hahnemann (Federici 46), Halford, Duberry, Ingimarsson, Shorey, Little (Oster 75), Harper, Sidwell, Hunt (Doyle 65), Lita, Kitson.
Subs Not Used: Bikey, Gunnarsson.
Ref: A Wiley (Staffordshire).