Premier League: Dele Alli header helps Tottenham Hotspur beat Newcastle United in opening game
Premier League, St James' Park - Newcastle United 1 (Joselu 11) Tottenham Hotspur 2 (Vertonghen 8, Alli 18)
Jan Vertonghen and Dele Alli were on the scoresheet as Tottenham edged out Newcastle 2-1 in the opening Premier League match at St James' Park.
The pair were two of nine Spurs players to return to training on Monday after the World Cup, but they showed no signs of fatigue as the visitors made a frantic start to the game.
Goal-line technology was required as Vertonghen gave Tottenham the lead after only eight minutes, before Newcastle levelled almost immediately through Joselu. Alli then restored the away side's advantage with a cushioned header from point-blank range with only 18 minutes on the clock.
Salomon Rondon came agonisingly close to a dream debut goal to level the scores but he was denied by the crossbar, as Tottenham held on to secure an opening day league victory over Rafa Benitez's side for the second consecutive season.
Pochettino's decision to name strong team pays dividends: Eyebrows were raised when Mauricio Pochettino named his starting XI with a whole host of his World Cup stars included. The likes of Vertonghen, Hugo Lloris and Alli only returned to training on Monday, prompting questions if they would be fit enough to perform at their highest levels. After only 18 minutes their hunger and energy levels were clear. Naturally they tired as the game went on but the job was almost done and Pochettino's decision had already been justified. For all of the positives, it has to be said that Harry Kane again flattered to deceive in a match in August.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Dele Alli (Tottenham): His trademark late runs into the box caused nightmares for Newcastle and provided the winning goal for Tottenham.
Dele Alli of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur at St. James ParkGetty Images
Tottenham: Lloris 7, Aurier 6, Vertonghen 7, Sanchez 7, Davies 7, Dier 6, Sissoko 6, Eriksen 7, Alli 8, Moura 7, Kane 5. Subs: Son 5, Dembele 5, Amos N/A.
8' - GOAL! Newcastle 0-1 Tottenham: The visitors take an early lead! Goal-line technology is required for this one. Eriksen's corner delivery is met by Sanchez who flicks it on to Vertonghen at the back post. The Spurs defender bundles it over the line, despite Newcastle's desperate effort to clear.
11' - GOAL! Newcastle 1-1 Tottenham: Well that didn't take long, Newcastle are level! Ritchie is given all the time in the world to deliver a cross, his devilish delivery is a dream for Joselu who glances the header into the top corner, leaving Lloris helpless.
Jan Vertonghen of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates after scoring his team's first goalGetty Images
18' - GOAL! Newcastle 1-2 Tottenham: Alli restores Spurs' lead! Newcastle's defence is carved open once more. It's a delightful deep cross from Aurier, he sets it up on a plate for Alli who couldn't miss. He guides it into the top corner from close range with a cushioned header.
51' - KENEDY IS THROUGH! A golden chance for Newcastle as Joselu slips through Kenedy! The midfielder has all the time in the world to slot it home but he seems to buckle under the pressure, taking a heavy touch which allows Lloris to rush out to smother.
56' - EXCELLENT SAVE! Dubravka to the rescue! Davies' cross comes at a fair pace to Sissoko but the former Newcastle midfielder makes a sweet connection on his volley and is denied by Dubravka who makes a top reaction stop.
85' - OFF THE CROSSBAR! Oh my, nearly a debut goal for Rondon! He does everything right but is missing that bit of luck needed to score. He kills Shelvey's cross to set himself up for the shot and his dipping volley takes a deflection off Vertonghen, smashing off the crossbar and away to safety.
- Spurs have never lost a Premier League fixture in which Dele Alli has scored, winning 27 and drawing six of the previous 33 games he has netted in.
- Harry Kane 's wait for a Premier League goal in the month of August continues, despite playing 14 games and over 900 minutes.
- Newcastle's last win on the opening day of a Premier League season came against Tottenham in August 2012.