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Soldado lifts Spurs to victory over Palace
Roberto Soldado scored on his debut as Andre Villas-Boas' new-look Tottenham side edged past Crystal Palace with a 1-0 victory at Selhurst Park.
The Spain striker, signed from Valencia for a club record £26million, troubled the Palace back four throughout with his movement and he dispatched a second-half penalty to win the match after Dean Moxey handled Aaron Lennon's cross.
Paulinho's bustling presence in midfield helped the visitors out in what was a scrappy encounter, but Tottenham at times lacked the bit of magic that Bale would bring.
To be fair to Villas-Boas' squad, three of the four new faces on display have barely trained with their team-mates and they could well have won this game by three or four had Julian Speroni not performed superbly in goal. Gylfi Sigurdsson and substitute Jermain Defoe were also guilty of missing easy chances to kill off the game in the second half.
Palace, for their part, will take encouragement from this game. Their back four looked solid and if Speroni plays as he did today then they may not be the relegation certainties the bookmakers seem to think they are.
With a booming atmosphere created by the Palace fans excited at their first top-flight game for eight years, the home side started nervously.
Moxey's wayward back pass handed Soldado an early chance, but Speroni came to the rescue.
Despite the early wobble, Palace held their own for the first 15 minutes and the visitors had to resort to long-range efforts.
The closest Tottenham came to opening the deadlock was when Lennon found Mousa Dembele and he let fly with a 20-yard shot which beat Speroni but clipped the top of the bar.
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