Late strikes from Frederic Kanoute and Robbie Keane secured a rare London derby win for Tottenham over Fulham at White Hart Lane this afternoon.
The goalscoring duo began the game on bench but had a swift impact once summoned by Martin Jol as they broke down Fulham’s stubborn resistance in the final twenty minutes. Kanoute smashed in a 78th minute free-kick to enliven what had become a rather dull spectacle and Keane clinched the three points in stoppage time as Spurs won a capital derby for only second time in 23 league matches.
Chris Coleman’s side couldn’t muster a shot on target on an afternoon where they were obviously more focused on containing their opponents. Fulham had their work cut out from the off, with Papa Bouba Diop producing a fine tackle to prevent Stephen Kelly from running onto a dangerous pass by Michael Brown. Mido endured a frustrating afternoon up front, firing wildly wide twice inside the opening twenty minutes.
van der Sar was always likely to be the busier goalkeeper and he made a magnificent save to keep out a swerving effort from Andy Reid just before the half hour. Ledley King headed wide from a corner and Spurs stepped things up after the interval with Noureddine Naybet nodding over from a set play.
Coleman took off Andy Cole in an attempt to inject some live into Fulham’s attack but the veteran striker was far from impressed – heading straight down the tunnel after leaving the field. The visitors looked like being able to cling on for a point as Spurs continued to fail to test van der Sar, with Reid heading wastefully wide from Simon Davies’ inviting cross.
Eventually, Jol shuffled his pack sending on Kanoute and Keane for Jermaine Defoe and Mido and the former made an almost instant impact. He steered a fabulous free-kick around the wall and into the net from 25 yards to break the deadlock and then looked to laid on a second for his fellow substitute, but Keane contrived to miss the almost open goal. The Republic of Ireland international redeemed himself in stoppage time when he latched onto a long pass from Michael Carrick, motored away from Luis Boa Morte and went round van der Sar to put clear water between the two sides.
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (4-4-2): Robinson; Kelly, Edman, Naybet, King; Brown, Carrick, Davies, Reid; Mido (Keane 79), Defoe (Kanoute 73). Subs (not used): Cerny, Ziegler, Pamarot.
GOALS: Kanoute (78), Keane (90).
FULHAM (4-3-3): van der Sar; Rosenior, Bocanegra, Knight, Goma; Diop, Clark, Jensen (McBride 86); Radzinski, Boa Morte, Cole (John 59). Subs (not used): Crossley, Volz, Legwinski.
REFEREE: Neale Barry (North Lincolnshire).