Roberto Soldado’s first goal from open play in nearly five months was the difference between Tottenham and Cardiff at White Hart Lane.
With expectation mounting, he kept calm in the 28th minute, stroking home the squared pass from Emmanuel Adebayor after a good run from Andros Townsend.
That marked Soldado’s sixth Premier League goal of the season, with four of the others coming from the penalty spot.
Tottenham were always the better and more organised side, with Adebayor looking dangerous and Michael Dawson presenting an aerial threat from set pieces.
Yet they could not make that superiority and significant advantage in possession pay during an entertaining match.
Cardiff continued to press throughout, with their best chance falling to Steven Caulker, who headed against the bar after half an hour.
16' CHANCE! Marshall convincingly collects a fierce header from Dawson, but even if he hadn't been that would have been ruled out for offside.
28’ GOAL! Soldado finally gets the goal he's been waiting for. Townsend picks it up on the break, passes to Adebayor, who rolls it into his strike partner, who keeps his head and strokes it into the net.
30’ CHANCE! Lloris is flapping, and Caulker does not do well with the chance, heading clumsily against the bar.
49’ CHANCE! Clever ball in from Campbell, which falls to Bellamy, who can't see it home. Campbell tries again, and Dawson gets it out for a corner.
60’ CHANCE! Townsend picks the ball up in the middle, and cuts through to the right, shooting high from range.
89’ CHANCE! Substitute Harry Kane has a great chance blocked by the feet of Marshall.
Cardiff have now failed to score in six of their last seven meetings with Tottenham in all competitions.
They have also failed to score in more games than any other team in the Premier League this season (15), including the last four in a row.
Cardiff City have yet to win or concede a penalty in the Premier League this season – the only side yet to do so.
Spurs have won all six of the Premier League matches in which Soldado scored and kept a clean sheet in all of them.
Tottenham have not lost a home league match when ahead at the break since September 2007 against Arsenal.
Should Spurs have had a penalty? A generally good-natured game, but Tottenham will be wondering if the challenge from John on Lennon soon after the break should have been a penalty rather than the free-kick just outside the box. It would have made for a less nervous second half for them had they been able to double their lead.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Roberto Soldado - it would be churlish to give it to anyone else. He was industrious throughout and his deserved goal was the difference between the sides.
Tottenham: Lloris 7; Naughton 7, Dawson 7, Vertonghen 7, Fryers 7; Lennon 7, Dembele 7, Paulinho 7, Townsend 7; Adebayor 8, Soldado 8. Subs: Friedel, Veljkovic, Bentaleb, Chadli 7, Sandro 7, Sigurdsson, Kane 7.
Cardiff: Marshall 6, Caulker 7, Turner 6, Medel 7, Campbell 6, Kim 6, Gunnarsson 6, Cala 6, Fabio 6, Bellamy 6, John 6. Subs: Lewis, Jones 6, Mutch 6, Cowie, Theophile, Daehli 6, Zaha.
- Sports & Recreation
- Roberto Soldado
- Premier League
- Andros Townsend
- Emmanuel Adebayor
- Michael Dawson