sport

Bale heroics earn Spurs win

Gareth Bale continued his superb run of form with two goals from free-kicks as Tottenham claimed a narrow 2-1 victory over Lyon in the first leg of their Europa League tie.

It looked like Bale might just be upstaged when his first wonderful goal was cancelled out early in the second half by a stunning strike from Samuel Umtiti.

However, the Welshman netted again in the dying seconds to give Spurs a narrow advantage ahead of next week's return leg.

Lyon posed some problems for the home side in the early stages and had a decent penalty shout turned down when Bafetimbi Gomis tumbled under a challenge from Jan Vertonghen.

Tottenham applied pressure down the right through Aaron Lennon and Kyle Walker, while Emmanuel Adebayor fired wide after being released by a terrific Mousa Dembele pass.

Bale then spurned a glorious chance to break the deadlock when he shot wide from close range after Walker's low cross had served up what looked to be the simplest of finishes.

However, Bale made amends with a fantastic 35-yard free-kick on the stroke of half-time which dipped and swerved as it flew past Remy Vercoutre.

Lyon came out strongly after the interval and equalised with a magnificent goal in the 55th minute. William Gallas' clearing header found Umtiti on the corner of the area and he smashed a rasping half-volley into the top corner.

The goal lifted Lyon and Alexandre Lacazette went close to putting them ahead after a weaving run took him past several defenders, only for Friedel to tip his shot over.

Tottenham weathered the storm and pressed forward again as Bale was denied twice in quick succession by Vercoutre.

Bale continued to provide the main threat and, after being denied by a fine save from Vercoutre with just a few minutes remaining, he had another chance from a free-kick in stoppage time following a foul 25 yards from goal.

Demonstrating a technique that is quickly becoming his trademark, Bale again managed to get his shot over the wall and back down again to beat a despairing Vercoutre.