Bale strikes once again

English player of the year Gareth Bale scored a spectacular late winner to boost Tottenham Hotspur’s Champions League hopes with a 1-0 victory over Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday.

Wigan Athletic and Aston Villa also celebrated late wins to improve their chances of avoiding relegation to the Championship.

Bale cut inside from the right and held off a defender before firing in from 25 yards in the 86th minute against his former club Southampton.

Spurs climbed above Arsenal, who play Queens Park Rangers in the day’s late kickoff, into fourth place in the standings, level on 65 points with Chelsea and one ahead of Arsenal.

Callum McManaman pounced in the 80th minute at the Hawthorns to give Wigan a 3-2 win over West Bromwich Albion after they had twice fallen behind.

Villa left Carrow Road with a 2-1 triumph over Norwich City courtesy of Gabriel Agbonlahor's double, including the 89th-minute winner.

Newcastle United were held to a 0-0 draw at West Ham United, leaving the Magpies three points above the relegation zone.

Wigan are third bottom on 35 points, two points behind Sunderland, who play Stoke City on Monday.

Villa moved up to 14th place with 40 points, pushing Norwich into trouble on 38. Second-placed Manchester City drew 0-0 at Swansea City and relegated Reading won 4-2 at Fulham. Chelsea travel to champions Manchester United on Sunday.

Hull promoted

Hull City won automatic promotion to the English Premier League after a dramatic 2-2 draw with Cardiff City on an extraordinary final day of the Championship season on Saturday.

A point proved enough for Steve Bruce’s side, but they had to endure an agonising wait as Watford -- their only rivals for the second and final automatic promotion place -- succumbed to a late 2-1 home defeat by Leeds United in a match delayed by around 15 minutes.

“I’ve never experienced anything like that,” Bruce, the former Manchester United defender, told Sky Sports. “They put us through the wringer. Watford pushed us all the way but it was our day.”

Cardiff, who had already earned promotion to the Premier League as champions, finished the (second tier) Championship season on 87 points with Hull second on 79.

Watford ended in third on 77 and go into the playoffs, where they will be joined by Brighton and Hove Albion, Crystal Palace and Leicester City. Hull thought they had done enough when Paul McShane’s 63rd-minute goal put them 2-1 ahead at the KC Stadium, but two penalties in stoppage time lent the afternoon unexpected twists.

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