LONDON (Reuters) - Newcastle United goalkeeper Tim Krul performed heroics at White Hart Lane on Sunday as the Magpies beat Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 and left the north Londoners five points adrift of north London rivals Arsenal.
With Premier League leaders Arsenal playing later at champions Manchester United, Spurs had a golden opportunity to go level on points with second-placed Liverpool who thrashed Fulham 4-0 on Saturday.
They had not bargained for Krul playing out of his skin, getting a hand to everything that came his way in a one-man wall between the posts.
“I‘m delighted, I‘m over the moon...this is a highlight of my career,” grinned the flying Dutchman who was man of the match after making 14 saves, the most by a Premier League goalkeeper in a match this season.
“These kind of games don’t happen very often. Three points away at Tottenham is a fantastic result.”
The focus was on both goalkeepers from the start, with Hugo Lloris left out of the Tottenham squad on medical advice after the French international had been knocked unconscious at Everton last week.
The 42-year-old Brad Friedel had to make a couple of saves early on but was powerless to prevent the livewire Loic Remy firing Newcastle in front after 13 minutes on a crisp but sunny afternoon.
The Frenchman picked up a beautifully-measured pass from Yoan Gouffran to beat the offside trap, dart around the goalkeeper and stab home for his seventh league goal of the season.
Shola Ameobi could have made it 2-0 when he had the ball in the net after 38 minutes but was ruled offside while Krul had earlier made a flying save to keep out a goal-bound Roberto Soldado header.
Krul said that first crucial save was probably the best, with the sun low in the sky and making it hard to see clearly.
He made a string of stops after the break as well, including somehow getting his hand to a deflected free kick by Gylfi Sigurdsson, with the rebound scrambled off the line by Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.
“He (Yanga-Mbiwa) put his life on the line for us and that just shows the commitment with the back five and the strikers and everybody working for each other,” said the keeper.
Using hands, arms, body and legs to keep the clean sheet, Krul’s was without question the performance of the afternoon as Newcastle moved into the top half of the table with 17 points from 11 games.
”He’s done a few good ones for us, Tim,“ Newcastle manager Alan Pardew told Sky Sports television. ”I think he’s the best Dutch goalie for sure and one of the best in this league.
“He’s been so hurt with injuries that he’s never really had a good run of late, in the last 18 months, but today he’s back on form.”
Arsenal lead on 25 with Liverpool on 23 and Southampton 22.
Editing by Ed Osmond