Newcastle 1-2 Tottenham: Dele Alli scores winner for visitors
Jan Vertonghen had given Spurs lead before Joselu levelled during frantic opening
By Gerard Brand
Last Updated: 11/08/18 5:41pm
Dele Alli scored a first-half winner as Tottenham beat Newcastle 2-1 on the opening weekend of the Premier League season at St James' Park.
Jan Vertonghen bundled the ball over the line with his head at the far post to give Spurs the lead (8) despite Martin Dubravka's best efforts on the line, before a tale of two crosses and another two headers.
First, Matt Ritchie's wicked ball was converted by the head of Joselu for 1-1 three minutes later, while Alli nodded in at the far post (18) from Serge Aurier's fine delivery.
Newcastle: Dubravka (7), Yedlin (6), Clark (6), Lascelles (6), Dummett (6), Diame (6), Shelvey (7), Ritchie (6), Perez (6), Kenedy (5), Joselu (6).
Subs: Rondon (6), Atsu (4), Muto (NA)
Tottenham: Lloris (6), Aurier (7), Vertonghen (8), Sanchez (7), Davies (7), Dier (6), Sissoko (7), Eriksen (7), Alli (8), Moura (7), Kane (6)
Subs: Dembele (6), Son (NA), Amos (NA)
Man of the match: Dele Alli
Both sides came close in a frenzied opening to the second half, the best chances falling to Moussa Sissoko and Kenedy at either end, while Newcastle debutant Salomon Rondon saw a deflected effort hit the bar late on.
But Spurs held on for a much-needed three points after recent criticism for not making a signing this summer, and the result means Newcastle, whose fans protested against owner Mike Ashley in the city centre before the game, are without an opening-day victory since 2012.
Spurs got their season off to a flying start early on, as Davinson Sanchez flicked on a Christian Eriksen corner into the path of Vertonghen, who diverted the ball just nine millimetres over the line following a Goal-line Decision System review.
For only the second time in Premier League history, Newcastle haven’t named a debutant in their starting XI on the opening day. New signings Schar, Ki, Muto and Rondon all started on the bench. For Spurs, World Cup-winning captain Hugo Lloris started in goal, joined in the line-up by Jan Vertonghen, Eric Dier, Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen and England captain Harry Kane.
But Newcastle levelled shortly after through Joselu, ghosting in-between Spurs defenders before heading home Ritchie's wonderful ball from the right flank.
Spurs regained their lead in a topsy-turvy opening, as Aurier's dangerous cross from deep on the right was nodded back across goal and into the corner by Alli, who scored in the 2-0 win at St James' Park on the opening day of last season.
Tottenham had the majority of possession in the first half but couldn't force a two-goal cushion, with defender Sanchez coming closest from a glancing header wide from an Eriksen corner.
There were two fine chances at both ends during a frantic first 10 minutes of the second half; first Mo Diame hit the near post with a fierce left-footed volley from an angle, before the ball hit Alli's knee and looped into the grateful hands of Dubravka from Eriksen's cross.
Kenedy then found himself in acres of space one-on-one with Hugo Lloris, only to see his touch let him down, and Dubravka kept the score at 1-2 at the other end, producing a fine stop from Moussa Sissoko's close-range volley.
Newcastle brought on Rondon with half an hour remaining, and he nearly grabbed a point in the closing stages, seeing his effort deflect off Vertonghen and onto the bar.
Notes for Southgate
An outside shout for the World Cup, Jonjo Shelvey was again among Newcastle's brightest players, while Jamaal Lascelles was solid yet not outstanding.
For Spurs, Eric Dier was booked and struggled to get a foothold in the game, and though Harry Kane was forced extremely deep, the Golden Boot winner battled hard.
One for the future in Luke Amos, perhaps; the 21-year-old made his Premier League debut, coming on for the final few minutes.
Man of the match - Dele Alli
The gong could have also been awarded to Jan Vertonghen, but it was apt that England midfielder Alli scored the winner after a busy summer.
In a contest where most of the football was played in the final third at both ends, it was Alli's defensive work that impressed, as well as his clever finish.
He took up a position on the left of midfield, regularly helping Ben Davies, and gained possession nine times for Spurs, more than any of his team-mates.
- Tottenham have won four of their last five Premier League away games against Newcastle (L1) - one more than they'd won in their previous 19 trips to St James' Park in the competition (W3 D5 L11).
- Newcastle have lost five of their last six opening games to a league season, drawing the other vs Southampton in 2015-16.
- Tottenham have scored in 25 of their last 26 Premier League games against Newcastle, failing only in a 0-1 home defeat in November 2013.
- The first three shots on target in this match all came in the opening 18 minutes and were all scored, while none of the following four were converted.
Tottenham now host Fulham at Wembley on Saturday, while Newcastle are at Cardiff on Saturday at lunchtime, live on Sky Sports Premier League.