Soccer

Soldado scores as Tottenham beats Palace 1-0

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LONDON (AP)

Spain striker Roberto Soldado scored a second-half penalty on his Tottenham debut to secure a 1-0 victory over fellow London side Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Tottenham was awarded the penalty in the 50th minute after Palace defender Dean Moxey handballed a cross from Aaron Lennon as he slid in to block the ball going into the penalty area.

Tottenham's Gareth Bale, a target for Real Madrid, was not in the squad as he was injured and Andre Villas-Boas' side seemed to miss his creativity in the first half. The majority of Tottenham's attacks came from the right side of midfield through Lennon and Kyle Walker.

''We wanted to start with a win,'' defender Jan Vertonghen said. ''It's a good result but next we want to score more goals.''

Tottenham enjoyed the majority of possession in the first half but could only test goalkeeper Julian Speroni with long range shots as Ian Holloway's team defended strongly.

Belgium midfielder Mousa Dembele went close in the 13th, his shot from 25 yards going narrowly over the crossbar.

Gylfi Sigurdsson then forced a spectacular save from Speroni 10 minutes before halftime, the Palace goalkeeper acrobatically tipping the shot from just outside the area over the crossbar.

Nacer Chadli, an international teammate of Dembele's, then headed over from six yards out with the last touch of the half - missing a fantastic chance to score on his debut for the London club.

Holloway reacted to Soldado's second-half goal by bringing on strikers Kevin Phillips and loan-signing Marouane Chamakh to search for an equalizer and Palace looked more threatening after their introduction.

But Sigurdsson should have doubled Tottenham's lead in the 68th, shooting wide from 10 yards after Spurs counterattacked against Palace, which began to press forward at every opportunity.

Debutant Dwight Gayle shot over the crossbar from 30 yards and Phillips shot wide from a similar distance as the home side tried to increase the pressure against Tottenham.

''They play long balls towards Chamakh and Phillips and we knew that would make it tough,'' Vertonghen said.

Holloway's side was playing its first Premier League game since 2005 and nearly equalized in the 89th when Kagisho Dikgachoi forced a good block from Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris at close range. A minute earlier, substitute Jermain Defoe wasted a chance to secure the win for Tottenham, shooting wide from inside the penalty area.

Villas-Boas also gave a debut to summer arrivals Etienne Capoue, who appeared as a substitute, and Brazil midfielder Paulinho, who was particularly impressive when in possession of the ball.

''Three new signings started today and they all did extremely well,'' Villas-Boas said. ''They bonded well and responded to each other's play.''

Tottenham's next league game is next Sunday against Swansea at White Hart Lane and Crystal Palace takes on Stoke away on Saturday.

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