A late world-class save from Asmir Begovic capped another stout defensive display by Stoke City as they held out for a goalless draw against Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League.

Tony Pulis’ side are now unbeaten in eight games but Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas will be rueing a failure to convert possession and domination into a win.

Gareth Bale made his return to the starting XI after missing three games through injury and quickly showed why Spurs are such as different prospect when he is in the side.

Numerous times in the first half at White Hart Lane he outpaced his full-back to flash dangerous crosses across the box, but the Potters’ central defensive partnership of Ryan Shawcross and Robert Huth were as resolute as usual in repelling all that was thrown at them.

Emmanuel Adebayor should have done better with one of Bale’s crosses midway through the first, rising at the back post meet a lofted cross but his header back across goal was just over.

Villas-Boas called Stoke defence the best in Europe before the game and it looked as though they might have been breached in injury time when second half substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson rose at the back post to header the ball down towards goal, but Begovic somehow got a strong hand on it to secure a point for his side.

Stoke will be pleased with another clean sheet but Tottenham are now behind rivals Arsenal and Everton in the league on goal difference, falling out of the top four in the process.

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