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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 November 2007, 17:50 GMT
Hapoel Tel Aviv 0-2 Tottenham
By Jonathan Stevenson

Spurs goalscorers Dimitar Berbatov (left) and Robbie Keane
Berbatov (left) and Keane celebrate scoring for Tottenham
Spurs got their Uefa Cup campaign back on track with a comfortable win over Hapoel Tel Aviv in their Group G tie.

The woeful Israelis could have taken a shock lead when Bebars Natcho dragged wide, before Spurs took control.

Steed Malbranque got away down the left to cross for Robbie Keane to volley in, before the winger chipped over a centre for Dimitar Berbatov to head home.

Hapoel were reduced to 10 men when Gal Shish earned a second booking and Spurs easily picked up the three points.

The win continued boss Juande Ramos' love affair with the Uefa Cup - at Sevilla, the Spaniard became the first manager to lead his side to back-to-back triumphs in the competition.

But in truth, though they started brightly enough, Ramos will have learned little from his side's display against abysmal opposition.

606: DEBATE

Hapoel could actually have taken the lead as they were presented with the first chance by a Young-Pyo Lee error, but Natcho could only drag his shot wide.

From then on it was like watching a training game as Spurs dominated possession and Hapoel, who lie bottom of their domestic league and have a huge derby against city rivals Maccabi on Sunday, carelessly gave the ball away time and again.

They were eventually made to pay for it when Keane sent Malbranque down the left and his cross was rammed into the corner of the net from 12 yards by the Spurs skipper.

Five minutes later the points were in the bag. Malbranque brilliantly beat his man and floated in a lovely cross that was begging for Berbatov to head it home, which he did with his usual minimum fuss.

His celebration was minimal too, the Bulgarian barely breaking into a smile.

Berbatov's moody manner will have done nothing to convince doubters that he is happy to stay as Spurs, as he had insisted earlier in the day, and not unsettled as has been reported.

The goal was just Berbatov's third of a poor season so far and that aside, he did absolutely nothing of any note in the game.

But once the result had been wrapped up, it was a question of how seriously Spurs were taking the game and how many goals they would end up with.

Berbatov tricked his way into the box before his shot was saved and Keane's follow-up was deflected wide, before Chimbonda powered a header over.

The second half was only five minutes old when Hapoel continued their self-destruction, Shish clumsily tripping Aaron Lennon and being shown his second yellow card as a result.

If Ramos did not appear to be happy with a two-goal cushion - he immediately sent on another striker in Defoe - his players were, content largely to knock the ball around and settle for what they had got.

Keane dragged wide from a rare opening and substitute Darren Bent saw his late effort cannon back off a post, but Spurs' laboured approach did not deserve to bring them further goals.


  • Tottenham boss Juande Ramos:
    "I was impressed with the performance, although we didn't play at our best, and I was also thinking about the Wigan match.

    "There were occasions when we should have done better to try to get another goal.

    "We didn't play well enough but after the two goals I felt better and I could think about Sunday."


    Hapoel Tel-Aviv: Enyeama, Bakshi (Manzor 46), Chen, Gabriel, Shish, Natcho, Mazowa, Abutbul (Abedi 46), Dego (Antebi 58), Badir, Fabio Junior.
    Subs Not Used: Ben Shaanan, Doani, Oved, Srur.

    Sent Off: Shish (50).

    Booked: Shish, Gabriel.

    Tottenham: Robinson, Stalteri, Chimbonda, Dawson, Lee, Lennon, Zokora, Jenas (Boateng 68), Malbranque (Defoe 56), Berbatov, Keane (Bent 68).
    Subs Not Used: Cerny, Kaboul, Tainio, Huddlestone.

    Booked: Berbatov, Defoe, Boateng.

    Goals: Keane 26, Berbatov 31.

    Att: 10,000.

    Ref: Grzegorz Gilewski (Poland).

    SEE ALSO
    Uefa Cup as it happened
    08 Nov 07 |  Europe
    Uefa Cup photos
    08 Nov 07 |  Football


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