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Last Updated: Saturday, 29 December 2007, 16:55 GMT
Tottenham 6-4 Reading
By David McIntyre

Dimitar Berbatov celebrates with Young-Pyo Lee
Berbatov has now scored 11 goals this season
Dimitar Berbatov scored four goals for Tottenham as they won an amazing game.

Berbatov put Spurs ahead with a tap-in before Kalifa Cisse levelled and Ivar Ingimarsson headed Reading in front.

Berbatov smashed home an equaliser, Dave Kitson restored Reading's lead and Berbatov completed his hat-trick only for Kitson to then put Reading 4-3 up.

Steed Malbranque equalised and Jermain Defoe scored from the rebound after Robbie Keane's penalty was parried, before Berbatov got Spurs' sixth.

Tottenham - with defender Ledley King playing his second match following his comeback from a knee injury - made the perfect start, going ahead after six minutes.

Keane beat the offside trap to collect Malbranque's clever pass and cross for Berbatov to score from eight yards.

The home side looked in control but then conceded an equaliser against the run of play.

Spurs keeper Paul Robinson could only punch Nicky Shorey's long free-kick to the feet of Cisse, who made no mistake from the edge of the penalty area.

Keane then missed a golden chance to regain the lead for Spurs just before the break.

Ingimarsson slipped under pressure from Berbatov, whose low cross from the right flank left Keane with the goal at his mercy but the Irishman was unable to connect.


Keane's miss was punished eight minutes into the second half, when Ingimarsson put the Royals in front by heading in Shorey's corner.

The header was almost straight at Robinson, but the England keeper failed to react and not for the first time this season was arguably at fault for the goal.

Robinson later redeemed himself by twice diving at the feet of Kitson to deny the Reading striker.

Kitson's hesitation after Cisse's deflected shot dropped to him allowed Robinson to intervene, and the keeper again thwarted Kitson after he had linked up well with Royals midfielder Bobby Convey.

A third Reading goal seemed to be on the cards but a mistake by Graeme Murty gifted Spurs an equaliser.

Substitute Defoe found space on the right and his ball into the box was poorly dealt with by Murty, whose clearance straight to Berbatov allowed the Bulgarian to fire into the roof of the net.

But Reading - without an away win all season - hit back almost straightaway.

Again a Shorey corner was Tottenham's undoing, with Kitson heading in the full-back's perfect delivery.

The scoreboard at White Hart Lane
The White Hart Lane scoreboard says it all

Almost every attack seemed to result in a goal and with the Reading defence standing still, Berbatov poked the ball beyond keeper Marcus Hahnemann, completing his hat-trick and levelling the match at 3-3.

Astonishingly, Reading regained the lead with their next attack. This time Kitson was released by Stephen Hunt's perfect pass and calmly lifted the ball over Robinson.

Spurs' response was equally emphatic.

They dug out another equaliser on 76 minutes when Tom Huddlestone picked out Malbranque, who shrugged off Sonko's challenge and found the corner of Hahnemann's net.

Three minutes later, Tottenham were awarded a penalty after Sonko fouled Keane.

Hahnemann saved Keane's spot-kick but Defoe was on hand to score from the rebound with a close-range header.

The outstanding Berbatov still managed to have the final say, latching on to Younes Kaboul's long ball and shooting past the beleaguered Hahnemann to finally complete the scoring.

  • Tottenham assistant coach Gus Poyet:
    "The positive is that we've shown we are capable of coming back even when we are conceding too many goals.

    "We have to look at the positives, be happy with the six goals and three points, and move on.

    "It was a great game for Match Of The Day, but not a great game if you were one of the managers."

  • Reading manager Steve Coppell:
    "It was great entertainment and if you were impartial it would have been a magnificent game to watch.

    "Once we got in front three times we should have put the game to bed, but our nature is to attack.

    "As a unit, we've got to question some of what we did. Defensively, we made some bad decisions."

    Tottenham: Robinson, Chimbonda, Kaboul, King (Defoe 61), Lee, Lennon (Boateng 67), Jenas, Huddlestone, Malbranque, Berbatov, Keane (Tainio 80).
    Subs Not Used: Cerny, Taarabt.

    Goals: Berbatov 7, 63, 73, Malbranque 76, Defoe 79, Berbatov 83.

    Reading: Hahnemann, Murty (De la Cruz 71), Sonko, Ingimarsson, Shorey, Hunt, Cisse, Harper, Convey (Long 84), Doyle, Kitson.
    Subs Not Used: Federici, Lita, Bikey.

    Booked: Cisse, Shorey, Long.

    Goals: Cisse 16, Ingimarsson 53, Kitson 69, 74.

    Att: 36,178

    Ref: Keith Stroud (Hampshire).

    BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Tottenham's Dimitar Berbatov 9.41 (on 90 minutes).

  • Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

    Saturday's football photos
    29 Dec 07 |  Football
    How to watch Match of the Day
    08 Oct 07 |  Match of the Day


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