Dele Alli overcame any post-World Cup rustiness to head Tottenham to a 2-1 victory over Newcastle on the first Saturday of the Premier League season.
NEWCASTLE, England (AP) Dele Alli overcame any post-World Cup rustiness to head Tottenham to a 2-1 victory over Newcastle on the first Saturday of the Premier League season.
All the goals came inside the opening 18 minutes as Joselu cancelled out Jan Vertonghen's opener before Alli struck to start Tottenham's season with a win.
Spurs dominated the first half with Christian Eriksen prominent, but found themselves in a battle after the break during which Mohamed Diame and Salomon Rondon both hit the woodwork for Newcastle.
It proved another frustrating afternoon for Tottenham striker Harry Kane, who left Newcastle still waiting for a Premier League goal in August after 14 attempts without success.
Tottenham needed just eight minutes to go in front after goalkeeper Martin Dubravka turned away a shot from Eriksen.
The Denmark international delivered the resulting corner for defender Davinson Sanchez to attack. His header was met at the far post by Vertonghen and the ball bounced down from the crossbar, with referee Martin Atkinson awarding the goal after being alerted by goal-line technology that it had crossed the line.
The lead lasted just three minutes as Joselu rewarded manager Rafael Benitez for his faith in picking him ahead of summer signings Rondon and Yoshinori Muto.
Matt Ritchie cut back on to his left foot and curled in a cross which the striker met unopposed to glance a header past Hugo Lloris.
Spurs continued to dominate possession and regained the lead with just 18 minutes played when full-back Serge Aurier drove a cross to the far post for the unmarked Alli to head past Dubravka.
The home side gradually settled into the game after a whirlwind opening half-hour, but with Diame in particular guilty of repeatedly squandering the ball, they struggled to build momentum.
Sanchez might have deepened their problems with a glancing 38th-minute header which flew across the face of goal.
Ayoze Perez only just failed to reach Ciaran Clark's scuffed shot as it trickled past the far post seconds later, but the visitors went in at the break with their advantage intact.
Diame was unfortunate not to level within two minutes of the restart when his stinging left-foot shot came back off the post.
Alli passed up a chance to extend his side's lead when he bundled Kane's mishit shot straight to Dubravka.
The Magpies should have been level six minutes into the half when Joselu picked out Kenedy in acres of space, but the Brazilian's first touch let him down.
Only Dubravka's heroics prevented former Newcastle player Moussa Sissoko from adding to Tottenham's tally when he produced a fine save to keep out the Frenchman's close-range 56th-minute effort. Lloris had to match him to repel Perez's shot on the turn after an hour.
Substitute Rondon almost snatched a point five minutes from time when his shot hit Vertonghen and looped over Lloris, only for the ball to come back off the crossbar.