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Bale, Tottenham climb into third with win over Swansea

Associated Press

3/30/2013 2:35:55 PM

SWANSEA -- Gareth Bale scored another stunning goal Saturday to give Tottenham a 2-1 win over Swansea that lifted it above Chelsea into third place in the Premier League.

Bale set up Jan Vertonghen for the first goal in the seventh minute and then curled home a brilliant effort in the 21st to double the lead.

Michu pulled Swansea back into the game with his 20th goal of the season in the 71st, but Tottenham held out over a frantic final 20 minutes to bounce back from consecutive losses against Liverpool and Fulham.

With Chelsea losing 2-1 to Southampton, Tottenham is now two points ahead of the London club in third place, but with a game more played.

"When there are so many things that go well for the team it is hard to single out individuals but Gareth is a world class player offensively and defensively," Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas said. "But the whole team deserve credit because coming here after two league defeats and playing the way we did is never easy."

Swansea has now lost its last three games since reaching the 40-point mark with victory over Newcastle.

Bale, who scored here for his country in midweek, produced a sublime lofted pass to catch Dwight Tiendalli out of position and play in Vertonghen.

The Belgium international brilliantly brought the ball down and slotted beyond the advancing Michel Vorm to give the visitors the lead.

Swansea should have been two goals down just six minutes later. Moussa Dembele put Emmanuel Adebayor through for the Togo striker to comfortably outpace Ashley Williams, only to fire tamely at Vorm.

But the lead was doubled in the 21st minute courtesy of a supreme finish from Bale.

Vertonghen found the forward on the edge of the Swansea box, where he took one touch before dispatching an unstoppable strike past a statuesque Vorm.

"They had a very good start but both goals showed a player of Gareth Bale's quality can make the difference," Swansea manager Michael Laudrup said. "If you take Bale out, without him the teams were at the same level."

Swansea had a spell of pressure after that, and Brad Friedel had to be alert to deny Michu after Wayne Routledge had fed him from a quick free kick after the break.

Michu then wasted another excellent opportunity as he headed wide from the sort of chance he has made a habit of taking during his first season in English football.

But he gave the Swans hope as he found the net for the first time since the League Cup final. Substitute Ki Sung-yueng delivered a superb corner, and Michu made no mistake as he directed a header in off the far post.