Bale produced yet another moment of magic to keep Tottenham on course for a return to the Champions League.
Manchester: Gareth Bale produced yet another moment of magic to keep Tottenham on course for a return to the Champions League, while Wigan boosted their survival hopes in the English Premier League with a come-from-behind win at West Bromwich Albion. Playing his first match since being named English football's player of the year, Bale cut inside from the right in the 86th minute and smashed a long-range strike into the corner to earn Spurs a 1-0 win over former club Southampton.
"It was a great moment of individual brilliance to win the game," Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas said. Wigan set up their trademark late rally to avoid relegation with a 3-2 victory at The Hawthorns, keeping the team third-from-bottom but provisionally reducing the gap to Sunderland to two points.
Aston Villa took a giant step to safety by winning 2-1 at Norwich, who are only three points clear of Wigan having played a game more. Newcastle are level on points with Norwich after drawing 0-0 at West Ham. Manchester City dropped points in their bid to finish second by drawing 0-0 at Swansea while already-relegated Reading earned some respite by winning 4-2 at mid-table Fulham.
Bale was having a quiet game by his high standards until he burst into life with four minutes remaining, arrowing in a low shot that saw White Hart Lane erupting and adding more value to his price tag. It was Bale's eighth winning goal this campaign and he is almost carrying Spurs on his own as they jostle with Arsenal and Chelsea for the two Champions League spots behind the Manchester clubs. Hull will return to the Premier League after a three-year absence after securing a second-place finish in the second-tier League Championship, ahead of Watford.