Tottenham Hotspur have kicked off their 2018-19 Premier League campaign with a 2-1 victory against Newcastle United at St James’ Park.
All three goals arrived in a frenetic opening 18 minutes on Tyneside, as Jan Vertonghen and Dele Alli scored either side of Joselu’s temporary leveller.
Spurs had to ride their luck at times in the remainder, with Toon debutant Salomon Rondon hitting the bar late on, but they held on for an opening-game win at this venue for the second year running.
The first goal was awarded through the use of goal-line technology, as Vertonghen glanced in Davinson Sanchez’s knockdown via the underside of the crossbar.
Newcastle were on level terms two minutes and 29 seconds later, though, with Matt Ritchie swinging in a delightful ball for Joselu to get in front of Sanchez and nod past a stranded Hugo Lloris.
A third goal in the space of 10 minutes would swing the game back in Tottenham’s favour, and it came from another teasing cross from out wide.
Serge Aurier, profiting from Kieran Trippier’s absence, found the head of Dele at the back post with his first-time delivery from deep.
The contest then settled into more of a rhythm, with the next chance not arriving until the final six minutes of the half.
Sanchez ghosted past Jonjo Shelvey – sent off in this fixture nearly 12 months ago to the day – and flicked a left-sided corner inches wide of the far post, shortly before Ciaran Clark volleyed a half-cleared cross agonisingly wide at the other end.
Tottenham were given a wake-up call early in the second half as Mohamed Diame’s thumping shot struck the near post, while Kenedy could not make the most of Ayoze Perez’s outside-of-the-boot through-ball, with a heavy first touch giving Lloris a chance to close the angle.
Dele was also unable to control a ball from Christian Eriksen when left completely unmarked, but Moussa Sissoko did manage to test Martin Dubravka with a shot down the middle from a good position.
Sanchez then volleyed over an empty net from a difficult angle, and Perez tested Lloris down low with his snapshot as the chances kept on coming at both ends.
Newcastle were the side asking all of the questions in a quieter final 15 minutes and were nearly rewarded with a late leveller.
Substitute Rondon took Shelvey’s pass in his stride and got a shot away from the game’s final chance, which looped off Vertonghen and hit the crossbar in a major let-off for the visitors.