Bale heroics in vain for Spurs

Gareth Bale scored a stunning goal as Tottenham beat Sunderland 1-0 at White Hart Lane, but they missed out on a place in the top four as Arsenal also won on the final day of the season.

Last Updated: 20/05/13 at 10:01 Post Comment

Gareth Bale's brilliance did not prove to be enough for Tottenham

Gareth Bale's brilliance did not prove to be enough for Tottenham

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Spurs needed to win to stand any chance of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League but it looked like they would be frustrated until Bale rounded off a wonderful individual campaign with another special strike in the 90th minute.

However, Arsenal's victory at Newcastle United ensured that Tottenham would have to settle for a fifth-place finish despite a record points haul in the Premier League.

The margin of Spurs' victory could have been more convincing had they been granted any of several penalty appeals, while Sunderland also defended doggedly and Simon Mignolet pulled off a series of fine saves.

The onus was on Tottenham to take the attack to a Sunderland side whose Premier League survival had been guaranteed by Wigan Athletic's loss to Arsenal, and the first half was dominated by the hosts at White Hart Lane without reward.

It looked like the breakthrough would come in the 21st minute when Bale was sent tumbling in the area by a push from Sebastian Larsson, but instead of giving a penalty referee Andre Marriner felt that the Welshman had dived and issued a yellow card which sparked a furious reaction from the player and the crowd.

Spurs had another appeal for a spot-kick waved away when Bale's shot from close range crashed into the arm of Jack Colback, while Mignolet made decent saves from Emmanuel Adebayor, Tom Huddlestone and a Bale free-kick.

Sunderland were disciplined in defence but only broke forward sporadically, with Hugo Lloris showing quick reflexes at his near post to repel a close-range flick from Connor Wickham.

Lloris again had to be alert to pull off a fine save down to his left from Danny Graham at the start of the second half after lazy play from Huddlestone in midfield had allowed Sunderland to pinch the ball.

Tottenham then had another shout for a penalty waved away by the referee when Carlos Cuellar looked to handle Adebayor's shot as he slipped to the floor, and the feeling of frustration grew as news filtered through of Arsenal's lead against Newcastle.

Colback made two goal-line clearances to deny Scott Parker and then Aaron Lennon in quick succession, and a number of chances came and went as Mignolet continued to impress and Sunderland's whole team worked hard.

The Black Cats were reduced to ten men in the 75th minute, however, when David Vaughan was shown a red card for a second bookable offence.

Spurs finally netted the goal they deserved when Bale cut back inside 25 yards from goal and fizzed a spectacular, curling shot past a despairing Mignolet and into the top corner.

The final few moments were spent with the fans desperately wishing to hear that Newcastle had pegged back Arsenal, and when that news never materialised it left the taste of victory very bittersweet.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Footer 365

Mesut Ozil defended by Arsene Wenger after Paul Scholes criticism

Arsene Wenger claims Paul Scholes "would have loved to play with Mesut Ozil".

Football Association names Martin Glenn as its new chief executive

The Football Association has named Martin Glenn as its new chief executive.

Arsenal's Gabriel Paulista out for up to three weeks with hamstring injury

Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Arsenal defender Gabriel has been ruled out for up to three weeks with a hamstring injury.

Mail Box

Is Sissoko's Neck Very Distinctive?

Moussa Sissoko features in a really quite bizarre Distinctive Physical Features XI while we have mails on sexism, Angel Di Maria and Francesco Totti. Ramdom.

Have To Trust Managers On Mata

It's all very well bemoaning the lack of action for Juan Mata, but we have to trust the judgement of Van Gaal and Mourinho. Plus Martinez Out, and Leicester are doomed...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company