Ben Arfa hands Toon victory
Published 18/08/2012 | 19:51
Hatem Ben Arfa stroked home a late winner from the penalty spot as Alan Pardew's Newcastle rode their luck to get their new Barclays Premier League campaign off to a flying start with a 2-1 victory over Tottenham.
The Frenchman sent Brad Friedel the wrong way in the 80th minute having been hauled down by Rafael van der Vaart, restoring the Magpies' slender advantage after Spurs had pulled back to level four minutes earlier.
It was a low-key encounter until Demba Ba fired his first goal since February to put the home side ahead in the 55th minute, before before Jermain Defoe prodded a 76th minute equaliser at the second attempt.
The late drama proved too much for Pardew, who was sent to the stands by referee Martin Atkinson for a furious response to a touchline incident shortly before Andre Villas-Boas' men had snatched their leveller.
The visitors had looked sharper in the first period and were desperately unlucky not to take some kind of lead into the half-time break after both Defoe and Gareth Bale clattered shots against the woodwork.
While Pardew started with his new signings Vurnon Anita and Romain Amalfitano on the bench, Villas-Boas gave Gylfi Sigurdsson his debut and the ex-Swansea man was at the heart of most of the visitors' attacking moves.
But the home side snatched the lead against the run of play in the 55th minute when Danny Simpson's high ball into the box was only half headed clear by Kyle Walker, and Ba responded with a delicious curling shot high into the net from the corner of the box.
Spurs grabbed their deserved equaliser in the 76th minute when Lennon crossed into a crowded box and Defoe wriggled free to fire past Krul at the second attempt after his initial header had been parried by the keeper.
But the point only lasted four minutes before Van der Vaart was rightly penalised for tripping Ben Arfa in the left side of the box, and the Frenchman picked himself up to send Friedel the wrong way from the spot.
Jonas Gutierrez almost extended Newcastle's lead with an ambitious looping effort which Friedel tipped over the bar, while Spurs' increasingly desperate final forward forays lacked the sharpness to trouble Krul.