Adebayor gives Tottenham 1-0 EPL win over Everton
(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
By ROB HARRIS
AP Sports Writer
LONDON (AP) Emmanuel Adebayor gave Tottenham's Champions League pursuit a timely tonic on Sunday, clinching a 1-0 victory over Everton to dislodge the losers from fifth place in the Premier League.
By overcoming one this season's top-five teams for the first time despite being largely outplayed, Tottenham moved just three points behind fourth-place Liverpool.
Spurs scored from their only shot on target, with Adebayor controlling a free kick, taken swiftly and smartly by Kyle Walker, and sending the ball past goalkeeper Tim Howard in the 65th minute.
Having collected just one point from its last two matches, Tottenham's season now appears to be back on track again, moving nine points behind leader Chelsea.
For Everton, so impressive in its first season under Roberto Martinez, this was only the Merseyside team's third league loss in four months.
And the hard-working, well-drilled Toffees should have come away from White Hart Lane with at least a point. Leon Osman created a trio of chances in the opening 10 minutes alone, with the best of them - a volley - turned wide by goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
Lively down the flanks and overrunning the hosts in midfield, Everton was preventing Tottenham making an impact, and leaving them exposed on counterattacks.
Tim Howard was barely troubled in the Everton goal, with a free kick from Christian Eriksen that dipped over him onto the roof of the net providing a rare moment of danger.
But when Everton was presented with scoring opportunities, too often they were wasted.
Winger Kevin Mirallas rampaged through the Tottenham defense, and reached the edge of the area but then struck over rather than picking out one of his better-positioned teammates.
As half time approached, Tottenham manager Sherwood was becoming increasing anxious, going from bellowing instructions to cursing misses. There was little change at the start of the second half, with Sherwood kicking bottles and sending spray across the technical area.
What was missing from either team, since those early Osman chances, was a player to find a breakthrough amid their midfield sparring. There was an injection of pace in the tepid Spurs team when Andros Townsend returned after seven weeks, replacing Eriksen near the hour mark.
And then, against the run of play, Tottenham was in front as Everton was caught by surprise. Walker quickly took a free kick on the half-way line, chipping the ball forward to Adebayor on the edge of the area. And the striker brought the ball down with his chest past Seamus Coleman, and controlled it before lashing it into the net.
It was his sixth goal in nine league games since being brought in from the cold by Sherwood after being sidelined by Andre Villas-Boas. And it was enough to clinch the three points for Tottenham, which had previously failed to beat top-four rivals Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool this season.
Updated February 9, 2014