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Page last updated at 21:54 GMT, Thursday, 6 November 2008

Tottenham 4-0 Dinamo Zagreb

By Chris Whyatt

Darren Bent
Bent has found fresh confidence since the arrival of Harry Redknapp

Rejuvenated Tottenham got their Uefa Cup campaign back on track as Darren Bent grabbed a clinical hat-trick against a hapless Dinamo Zagreb.

Bent blasted home in the 29th minute before calmly slotting in after Tom Huddlestone's pass three minutes later.

Huddlestone then fired in a sweet long-range volley from David Bentley's accurate corner in the 58th minute.

Confident Bent crashed in his third after 69 minutes before 16-year-old John Bostock came on to make his debut.

By doing so, Bostock became Spurs' youngest player in a competitive game.

Tottenham's previous Uefa Cup match was a woeful 2-0 defeat at Udinese two weeks ago, which sparked the dismissal of former manager Juande Ramos.

New boss Harry Redknapp's first game in charge in this competition for the north London club could not have been more different.

With Aaron Lennon starting wide on the right and Luka Modric retained just behind Bent in attack, his players oozed confidence throughout and never allowed the Croatian side to play their own game.


Winger Lennon was quick to make an impact, causing all sorts of trouble for Zagreb's defence amid the thick clouds of smoke which wafted across the stadium from flares being let off in the away end.

Former Aston Villa flop Bosko Balaban did go close with a free-kick after 19 minutes, the ball curling just over the bar from 25 yards out, but the visitors offered little else.

Spurs took a deserved lead after 29 minutes when Modric, playing against his former club, sent in a fizzing cross, having been cleverly released down the left wing.

Didier Zokora missed his attempted shot but after the ball broke, Bent pounced on it and wasted no time in hammering it into the roof of the net via a nick off a Zagreb defender.

With Modric causing more trouble three minutes later, Huddlestone picked up a loose ball and, feigning to shoot, slipped a clever disguised pass through the heart of Zagreb's defence for Bent.

He took one touch before calmly slotting the ball under keeper Ivan Kelava.

Tottenham continued to dominate right up until half-time and the White Hart Lane crowd were full of applause as Spurs carried on in the same vein after the break.

In the 55th minute Bentley sent a neatly dinked cross in for Bent but the English forward headed wide under pressure.

Fans in the away end at White Hart Lane
Supporters in the away end at White Hart Lane let off flares in the first half

Minutes later Modric's shot from an acute angle forced a corner, which Bentley cleverly stood up high into the air while most players were fighting for space in the penalty area.

As the ball dropped, Huddlestone motored forward to meet it sweetly and fire a powerful volley into the corner of the net from all of 25 yards.

Bent got the hat-trick he deserved after 69 minutes when, receiving an incisive Huddlestone pass, he kept his composure to fire decisively past Kelava with his right foot from 15 yards.

Spurs fans also witnessed their first glimpse of the highly promising teenager Bostock, formerly of Crystal Palace, who replaced Bentley to make his Spurs debut.

He showed plenty of ability on the ball and showed glimpses of trickery as Spurs continued the Redknapp era unbeaten in four games with 12 goals scored.

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp:
"He [Darren Bent] has done well. This is the first time I've worked with him, he has a good attitude and works hard at his game.

"It's a terrific return getting nine goals and hopefully he can keep going. I think we have three strikers who can do the job.

"There's competition for places up front. Darren and Roman (Pavlyuchenko) are both scoring goals and Fraizer Campbell showed terrific enthusiasm when he came on."

Tottenham: Gomes, Hutton, Woodgate (Gunter 85), Dawson, Bale, Bentley (Bostock 79), Zokora, Huddlestone, Lennon, Modric (Campbell 75), Bent.
Subs Not Used: Cesar, Gilberto, Dervite, Assou-Ekotto.

Goals: Bent 30, 33, Huddlestone 59, Bent 70.

Dinamo Zagreb: Kelava, Ibanez, Hrgovic, Lovren, Balaban (Badelj 60), Sammir (Morales 43), Mikic, Mandzukic, Vrdoljak, Biscan, Drpic (Etto 46).
Subs Not Used: Loncaric, Tomic, Tadic, Carlos.

Booked: Lovren, Hrgovic.

Att: 32,788

Ref: Fredy Fautrel (France)

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Tottenham's Darren Bent 9.14 (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.

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see also
Uefa Cup as it happened
06 Nov 08 |  Europe
Uefa Cup photos
06 Nov 08 |  Football
Player Rater
27 Aug 08 |  Europe
Udinese 2-0 Tottenham
23 Oct 08 |  Europe

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