- Associated Press - Sunday, August 25, 2019

LONDON (AP) - Steve Bruce claimed a first victory as Newcastle manager thanks to Joelinton sealing a 1-0 win at Tottenham in the Premier League on Sunday.

Taking over from Rafa Benitez in the offseason, Bruce found himself under pressure after losing his first two games, but Joelinton’s first goal since joining Newcastle for a club-record 40 million pounds (about $50 million) brought the club a welcome three points.

Newcastle was helped by a poor performance from Tottenham, which rarely threatened to break down a dogged Newcastle defense and undid all the good work of last weekend’s draw at champion Manchester City.

That point was as a result of VAR intervention, where Gabriel Jesus’ last-gasp goal was ruled out, but Tottenham did not get help from the technology this week after the decision-review system ruled not to award a penalty when Harry Kane had tumbled under a challenge from Jamaal Lascelles.

It did little to lift the mood at Spurs, one which has been exacerbated by uncertainty over the future of Christian Eriksen, who only came on in the second half.

Tottenham had plenty of the ball but, with Eriksen on the bench, struggled to break down Newcastle.

The visitors did find holes at the other end.

One of them should have led to an opener but Sean Longstaff opted to shoot when he had two men free in the box and Hugo Lloris tipped over.

Spurs did not get away with the next one, though, and fell behind in the 27th minute as Davinson Sanchez was caught playing the offside trap, allowing Joelinton to latch on to substitute Christian Atsu’s inch-perfect ball and rifle home his first goal for the club.

It was the third time Spurs have fallen behind this season and 10th in the last 12 games.

Finding themselves a goal down against a side which came to defend led to an inevitable period of frustration as the hosts tried to find a way back into the game.

Tottenham’s best chance came in the 32nd as Kyle Walker-Peters did well down the right and stood a cross up for Son Heung-min, whose volley was well saved by Martin Dubravka. Lucas Moura spurned a good chance with the final kick of the first half, putting a shot wide from Kane’s cross.

The second half did not get much better as Newcastle remained compact and defended bravely and Spurs found it impossible to create any danger.

For the second home game in a row, Mauricio Pochettino turned to Eriksen to try and unlock the door, but even the Dane could not make a difference.

In the end, Tottenham was looking for another intervention from VAR after Kane was felled, but it upheld Mike Dean’s decision in a moment that will surely bring more focus on the system.

Tottenham still had a chance to take a point, but Moura blazed Moussa Sissoko’s cross over.


More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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