Skipper Jonjo Shelvey was sent off for standing on Dele Alli as Newcastle’s return to the Premier League was ruined by Tottenham.
Second half goals from Alli and Ben Davies ultimately did for the promoted Magpies with the visitors coasting to a 2-0 victory, but it was Shelvey’s 49th-minute dismissal which opened the door after his side had scrapped its way to the break without major incident.
The 25-year-old, who was banned for five games last season after being accused of making racist comments towards Wolves midfielder Romain Saiss, saw red to the astonishment of his team-mates and the locals among a crowd of 52,077, although television replays suggested he had stood on Alli’s ankle as the Tottenham man lay on the floor.
What they saidNewcastle manager Rafael Benitez: “Jonjo knows that he had made a mistake, he apologised, but still we lost the game. All the effort that we put on the pitch was lost because we made a mistake.”Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino: “Dele was calm – that’s important. Last season, we talked a lot about that, how we need to behave and improve and learn. He’s mature enough now to accept sometimes what happens on the pitch, but he is so clam, he is so brave.”
Tweet of the match
Star man – Christian Eriksen
Christian Eriksen was Tottenham’s heartbeat throughout and it was no surprise that it was he who provided the ammunition for Alli to open the scoring. Having gone close himself before the break, the Dane supplied an inch-perfect cross for the England international to fire home from close range.
Cause for thought
Newcastle owner Mike Ashley sat in the stands high above the pitch a St James’ Park knowing the club faces a big fortnight or so. Ashley has admitted he cannot compete with the Premier League’s big spenders despite manager Rafael Benitez’s pleas for further investment, but injuries could further deplete the Spaniard’s resources and increase the need for new faces.
Shelvey will probably argue that he did not mean to stand on Alli, but television replays suggested he did and a man who sat out five games through suspension at the end of last season is facing another three on the sidelines with the new campaign just one game old. He may consider himself unfortunate, but had he left referee Andre Marriner to deal with the situation, he would not have seen red.
Player ratingsNewcastle: Rob Elliot 6, Javier Manquillo 5, Florian Lejeune 6, Ciaran Clark 6, Paul Dummett 6, Jonjo Shelvey 4, Isaac Hayden 6, Matt Ritchie 6, Ayoze Perez 6, Christian Atsu 7, Dwight Gayle 6. Substitutes: Jamaal Lascelles (for Dummett, 8) 6, Chancel Mbemba (for Lejeune, 34) 6, Mikel Merino (for Gayle, 76) 6Tottenham: Hugo Lloris 6, Kyle Walker-Peters 7, Toby Alderweireld 6, Jan Vertonghen 6, Ben Davies 7, Eric Dier 6, Moussa Sissoko 6, Mousa Dembele 7, Christian Eriksen 8, Dele Alli 7, Harry Kane 6. Substitutes: Son Heung-min (for Sissoko, 58) 6, Victor Wanyama (for Alli, 82) 6, Harry Winks (for Dembele, 85) 6.
Who’s up next?
Huddersfield v Newcastle (Premier League, Sunday, August 20)
Tottenham v Chelsea (Premier League, Sunday, August 20)