Roberto Soldado scored a rare goal from open play as Tottenham Hotspur pulled within four points of fourth place with a 1-0 victory at home to Cardiff City in the Premier League on Sunday at White Hart Lane.
Soldado finished a fine counter-attack midway through the first half to score the game's only goal. Cardiff hit the crossbar moments later, but were unable to find an equaliser.
The result took Spurs onto 53 points, four behind Manchester City in fourth place. City have played two fewer matches.
Cardiff are 19th with 22 points and remain in danger of relegation. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's team are three points adrift of safety and have not scored in EPL play since Feb. 1 against Norwich City.
The game's lone goal came in the 28th minute via a blistering counter-attack by Spurs. Andros Townsend started the move just outside his own box, dribbling into Cardiff's half before passing to Adebayor on the left.
As he entered the box, Adebayor picked out Soldado with an angled pass to the penalty spot. Soldado took a touch before finishing at the far post for a 1-0 lead.
It was Soldado's first goal since Dec. 29, against Stoke, and his first from open play since Oct. 20 against Aston Villa. The Spanish striker now has five league goals this season.
"If I could have picked anyone to score that goal today it would have been him," Spurs manager Tim Sherwood said, per PremierLeague.com. "He's a great lad, he's never a moment's problem, a true professional and he gets on with his training. Whatever anyone asks him to do, he does it."
Roberto Soldado: Has scored a goal from open play in a PL match for just the second time this season; first vs Villa (October 2013) #THFC— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) March 2, 2014
11 - Emmanuel Adebayor has scored eight goals and assisted three in 12 Premier League games under Tim Sherwood. Revamped.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 2, 2014
Cardiff had a big chance to equalise moments later, but Steven Caulker's header from a corner crashed off the woodwork. Three minutes later, Declan John forced a save from Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris with a high shot from the left.
Chances were hard to come by in the second half as both teams struggled to find quality in the final third.
In the 89th minute, substitute Harry Kane had a chance to seal the points for Spurs after being played through by Nacer Chadli. But Kane shot straight at Cardiff keeper David Marshall, who saved with his legs.
Cardiff had a final chance in stoppage time after Kenwyne Jones knocked down the ball for fellow substitute Mats Daehli. But Daehli was unable to direct his shot on target.
“First half I thought we caused them massive problems on the counter-attack at times and I was very pleased with the performance in that respect," Solskjaer said, per PremierLeague.com. "But, of course, you can talk all day long—we need to score goals. If you want to win games, you need to score goals, of course."
Spurs play at league leaders Chelsea next Saturday. Cardiff host Fulham the same day.