EPL: Soldado earns his Spurs

EPL: Soldado earns his Spurs
Spain's forward Roberto Soldado (L) drives the ball next to Uruguay's defender Diego Lugano during their FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013.

Roberto Soldado scored on his debut as Andre Villas-Boas' new-look Tottenham side edged past Crystal Palace.

Without Real Madrid target Gareth Bale, ruled out because of a foot injury, Villas-Boas handed starts to three new signings and Soldado was the most impressive of the trio.

The Spain striker, signed from Valencia for a club record £26million (SGD$52 million) , troubled the Palace back four throughout with his movement and he dispatched a second-half penalty to win the match after Dean Moxey handled Aaron Lennon's cross.

Paulinho's bustling presence in midfield helped the visitors out in what was a scrappy encounter, but Tottenham at times lacked the bit of magic that Bale would bring.

To be fair to Villas-Boas' squad, three of the four new faces on display have barely trained with their team-mates and they could well have won this game by three or four had Julian Speroni not performed superbly in goal.

Spurned chances

Gylfi Sigurdsson and substitute Jermain Defoe were also guilty of missing opportunities to kill off the game in the second half.

Palace, for their part, will take encouragement from this game. Their back four looked solid and if Speroni plays as this for the rest of the campaign then they may not be the relegation certainties the bookmakers seem to think they are.

With a booming atmosphere created by the Palace fans, excited at their first top-flight game for eight years, the home side started nervously.

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