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Bale Treble Against Blades Lifts Spurs Fifth

Gareth Bale scored a brilliant hat-trick as Tottenham shook off their Carabao Cup final misery and kept alive their Champions League hopes with a 4-0 win over relegated Sheffield United.

Bale’s 36th-minute opener, a fine instinctive flick from close range, was scant reward for Spurs’ first-half dominance, but though Heung-Min Son saw an effort after the break (52) ruled out for offside, the Welshman struck twice more legitimately and emphatically soon after.

Bale brought up his 50th Premier League goal shortly after the hour mark after being set up by Son on a Spurs breakaway and hit a fierce third without breaking stride (69) before departing to hearty applause, albeit only from the home bench.

The Blades, for whom John Fleck escaped punishment after a VAR review after catching Giovani Lo Celso on the head, had twice built momentum before conceding but Bale’s third goal ended their fleeting resistance and Son completed the rout with a brilliant curled finish 13 minutes from time.

Tottenham move up to fifth – for now at least, having played a game more than West Ham, Liverpool and Everton behind them – but remain five points off Chelsea with just four games left to play.

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