Tottenham 2 Aston Villa 1: Rafael van der Vaart hits two as Spurs seal comeback win

02 October 2010 05:22
Rafael van der Vaart cemented his status as Tottenham's new talisman as they came from behind to beat Aston Villa in the Barclays Premier League and once again avoid a European hangover. [LNB] Van der Vaart scored twice to take his tally to four goals in three appearances at White Hart Lane, his £8million signing looking more of a bargain by the day. [LNB]Not for the first time after a Champions League match this season, Spurs paid for a slow first half and Marc Albrighton's first Villa goal almost handed the visitors a half-time lead but Van der Vaart levelled deep into stoppage time before rifling home a 75th-minute winner to end Gerard Houllier's winning start as Villa boss. [LNB]It was a virtuoso performance by the transfer-deadline-day capture from Real Madrid following his Jekyll-and-Hyde display against FC Twente in midweek, demonstrating just how much he will be missed for this month's trip to Inter Milan. [LNB] No chance: Rafael van der Vaart beats Brad Friedel to seal the win for Spurs[LNB]Tottenham fielded a makeshiftcentre-back partnership today of Tom Huddlestone and Sebastien Bassong,their 10th in 12 games this injury-blighted season, after Ledley Kingfailed a late fitness test. [LNB]Even with King available onWednesday night, Spurs looked too open for comfort at times and today'sline-up appeared even more attack-minded. [LNB]And they should have been ahead inside five minutes today when Roman Pavlyuchenko nodded over Luka Modric's left-wing cross. [LNB]But Villa began to take control of the game and, after a couple of half-hearted penalty appeals, they went ahead. [LNB]Terrible defending from Bassong sawhim robbed by Emile Heskey down the right and the revitalised formerEngland striker sprinted along the byline before crossing forAlbrighton to slide home. [LNB] Dutch of class: Rafael van der Vaart continued his scoring streak[LNB]Spurs screamed for a penaltythemselves 22 minutes in when Pavlyuchenko's shot hit the recalledRichard Dunne's hand but it was not intentional and Alan Hutton sentthe follow-up into the side-netting.[LNB]Ashley Young was needlessly bookedfor deliberate handball and Villa suffered a second blow when lonefrontman Heskey limped off to be replaced by John Carew 10 minutesbefore the break. [LNB]Pavlyuchenko wasted another chance to score four minutes later, hooking Gareth Bale's excellent low cross wide from six yards. [LNB]Carew and Young both fired over from20 yards, Brad Friedel was almost caught out by Van der Vaart'sskidding effort, Albrighton was cautioned for a foul on Hutton andYoung sent a shot on the turn straight at Heurelho Gomes. [LNB] Net gains: Aston Villa's Marc Albrighton (right) beats Spurs' Alan Hutton to the ball to hit the opener[LNB]Van der Vaart then levelled threeminutes into stoppage time when he climbed above Dunne to nod homeafter Peter Crouch had headed Pavlyuchenko's ball back across goal.[LNB]The Holland midfielder was movedfrom the right into a more central role after the restart, withPavlyuchenko withdrawn for Aaron Lennon.[LNB]The change almost paid dividends inthe 51st minute when Lennon stood a cross up for Crouch once again tonod down but Van der Vaart was somehow beaten to the ball by adesperate Stiliyan Petrov lunge. [LNB]Van der Vaart saw his next effortblocked by Dunne after being found in acres of space by Bale asTottenham began to crank up the pressure.[LNB]But Villa remained a threat on thebreak and Huddlestone was looking uncomfortable up against Carew, withthe striker and Albrighton both inches from connecting with Young'sdangerous cross.  [LNB]Crouch should have put Spurs ahead20 minutes from time when he powered a header over the bar afterHuddlestone had flicked on Modric's corner. [LNB] Aerial battle: Stephen Warnock and Rafael van der Vaart contest a high ball[LNB]Moments later, Lennon forced a finestop from Friedel with a low angled drive and, when he stood up anotherdangerous cross - this time with his left foot -15 minutes from time,Spurs took the lead.[LNB]Crouch once more claimed theknockdown and this time there was no stopping Van der Vaart as he kepthis cool to blast the ball past Friedel.[LNB]Harry Redknapp withdrew Modric forWilson Palacios and Villa soon made a double change, throwing onStephen Ireland and Barry Bannan for Petrov and Albrighton.[LNB]Dunne nodded a late corner offtarget and James Collins was booked for felling Lennon in full flight,only escaping a straight red by covering defenders.[LNB]Lennon was rampant and his latestcross found Hutton, whose shot was blocked before Van der Vaart wassubstituted to a standing ovation in the final minute, Sandro coming onto make his Premier League debut.[LNB] Hammers write off Spurs bid for 2012 Stadium, refusing to share with rivalsBlow for Aston Villa as Agbonlahor ruled out for two weeks after surgeryASTON VILLA FC

Source: Daily_Mail