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Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2011

Bale strikes twice as Spurs sink QPR


LONDON — Gareth Bale scored twice Sunday to lead Tottenham to a 3-1 win over Queens Park Rangers that kept his team in fifth place in the Premier League.

Bale put Spurs ahead in the 20th minute with a low shot to the far post and Rafael van der Vaart made it 2-0 13 minutes later, shooting unmarked past goalkeeper Paddy Kenny.

QPR pressed hard for an equalizer after substitute Jay Bothroyd got a goal back in the 62nd but 10 minutes later Bale twice swapped passes with Aaron Lennon on the edge of the area to work space for a curling shot into the top corner.

"It was a fantastic performance," Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp said. "In the first half, we played some great football and moved the ball quickly. The movement and passing was incredible.

"They changed how they played, got it forward and played with more intensity in the second half but Gareth finished them off with a great goal."

Victory took Tottenham to 19 points, behind unbeaten Newcastle and the last of the Champions League places only on goal difference.

"They've got so much quality," QPR manager Neil Warnock said. "I found myself clapping that third goal myself."

Spurs remained unbeaten in 11 matches since Aug. 28 and have a game in hand on three of the four teams above them. QPR, which beat west London rival Chelsea 1-0 last weekend, is seven points further back in mid-table.

With Tottenham missing a string of chances, Rangers could easily have forced at least a draw. American goalkeeper Brad Friedel saved well from QPR midfielder Alejandro Faurlin in the 65th, but Spurs' midfield class showed.

Redknapp said Scott Parker had been the crucial player in his side — shielding the back four in a defensive midfield role. The England international has yet to lose a match since signing for £5 million ($8 million) from relegated West Ham in August.

"I said to the chairman 'there's one player I want at this club,' " Redknapp said. "It's not always about 25, 30 million-pound footballers. I told the chairman 'he'll make the difference to this team.'

"No disrespect to the chairman, he understands business, I understand football. I don't understand much else."

Hungary's Albert dies


BUDAPEST — Florian Albert, the 1967 winner of the Golden Ball award given to Europe's best soccer player, has died. He was 70.

Ferencvaros TC, Albert's Hungarian club, said the former striker died early Monday. No cause of death was given, but Albert had heart surgery last week.

Albert played 537 matches for Ferencvaros, scoring 383 goals and winning four Hungarian championships. He also played 75 times for Hungary, tallying 31 goals. He took part in the 1962 and 1966 World Cups and won a bronze medal at the 1960 Olympic Games.

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