MIDDLESBROUGH, England (AFP) - Robbie Keane kept Tottenham on course for a UEFA Cup spot as his double strike clinched a 3-2 win at Middlesbrough on Saturday.
The Ireland striker has been in superb form lately and he opened the scoring before Dimitar Berbatov added a second for Spurs. Mark Viduka got one back, but Keane grabbed his second and Emanuel Pogatetz's late goal was no consolation for the hosts.
Martin Jol's side moved into eighth place and, with a game in hand, they should earn the top seven finish that guarantees a place in the UEFA Cup.
Middlesbrough nearly took an early lead when Viduka found Ayegbeni Yakubu in the box, but the Nigeria striker shot straight at Paul Robinson.
Spurs responded well and Berbatov made space for a low effort which nearly crept past Australia keeper Mark Schwarzer.
Berbatov went even closer moments later with a fierce shot that whistled just past a post. The Bulgarian has been the key to Spurs' eye-catching play this season and it was inevitable that he had a hand in their goal after 12 minutes.
He glided away from Pogatetz before caressing a pass to Keane, who calmly placed his shot past Schwarzer.
It was the Ireland striker's 13th goal in 13 matches and underlined why Jol has preferred him to Jermain Defoe so often this season.
Berbatov should have increased Tottenham's lead but he shot well over from a tight angle midway through the half.
With the home fans growing restless, Berbatov almost gave Keane a second with a cross that the former Inter Milan and Leeds United forward was just unable to turn in.
Middlesbrough had struggled to find any attacking momentum, but Viduka could have levelled on the stroke of half time with a strike that flashed just wide.
Berbatov was tearing Middlesbrough apart and he deservedly got on the scoresheet two minutes into the second half.
Hossam Ghaly crossed from the right and Berbatov produced a perfectly-timed 25-yard volley that gave Schwarzer no chance.
Gareth Southgate's side reduced the deficit in the 66th minute when Viduka met Stewart Downing's cross with a powerful header for his 16th goal of the season.
It took a superb stop from Paul Robinson to keep Spurs ahead as the England keeper parried George Boateng's effort.
But Keane put Tottenham in complete control after 83 minutes. Aaron Lennon cut a pass back into Keane's path and the forward buried his shot into the top corner of Schwarzer's goal.
Pogatetz nodded in Downing's corner in the final moments but it was too little, too late for Middlesbrough.