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Tottenham Hotspur FC moved into contention in UEFA Cup Group G after easing to a 2-0 win at Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC thanks to two goals in five first-half minutes from forward pairing Robbie Keane and Dimitar Berbatov.
Both sides had lost their opening game in the section and have struggled in domestic football so far this season, with Tottenham winning just once in the Premier League and Hapoel yet to taste victory in the Ligat Ha-Al, and that was reflected in a nervous opening in which both sides squandered possession too often.
Bebars Natcho tested visiting goalkeeper Paul Robinson from distance but on 26 minutes Spurs made the breakthrough when Keane won the ball outside the penalty area and slipped in Steed Malbranque down the left flank. The midfielder darted to the byline and cut a cross back for the Republic of Ireland striker to volley past Vincent Enyeama.
Five minutes later Malbranque turned Lior Bakshi in the box and delivered a cross for Berbatov to head precisely into the corner to give Jaunde Ramos's side a two-goal cushion. Enyeama kept out a Berbatov shot and Pascal Chimbonda headed just over from a Jermaine Jenas free-kick before the interval as Spurs looked to kill off the game.
Hapoel's chances of turning the game suffered an irreparable blow when Gal Shish was dismissed just after half-time for a second bookable offence following a foul on Aaron Lennon. Substitute Jermain Defoe and Jenas combined to give Keane a chance for his second goal which the striker pulled wide. Fábio Júnior came closest to reducing the deficit when he burst into the Tottenham area only for Robinson to deny him while Darren Bent hit the post in the final seconds for the visitors.
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