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Gareth Bale steals limelight on night Bobby Moore is remembered

Gareth Bale celebrates his stunning last-minute goal as Spurs come from behind to win 3-2 at West Ham

Story highlights

  • Gareth Bale scores twice as Spurs come from behind to win 3-2 at West Ham
  • Welshman lights up a night where former West Ham legend Bobby Moore is remember
  • Victory takes Spurs above Chelsea into third in the Premier League table

The evening was supposed to be about remembering former England and West Ham captain Bobby Moore, who died 20 years ago, but in the end it was Gareth Bale who provided the memories at Upton Park with another unforgettable display.

The Welshman scored twice, with his second coming in the 90th minute, as Tottenham Hotspur came from behind to win 3-2 at West Ham and move up to third in the Premier League.

Bale, who has now scored eight of his team's last ten goals in all competitions, was the main talking point at the final whistle but the game kicked off with the thoughts of England's only World Cup-winning captain uppermost in spectators' minds.

The former defender, who died on 24 February 1993 at the age of 51, was honored as fans and players from both clubs provided a minute's applause, with home supporters creating a mosaic reading "Moore 6" in the stand named after him.

His three grandchildren -- Poppy, 21, Freddie, 16 and Ava, 13 -- had led the teams out as they carried the match ball onto the pitch.

"Twenty years gone, never forgotten" were the words that not only beamed out of the stadium's giant television screens but were also stitched into the jerseys of the West Ham players.

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Having joined his local club as a teenager, Moore became a legend for a side he represented between 1958 and 1974, winning the FA Cup in 1964 and then the Cup Winners' Cup (a competition eligible for those European sides that had won their domestic cup) a year later.

Yet it was his displays with England in 1966 that cemented his place in football folklore for a defender rated as one of the best to have ever played the game.

"It was Bobby's ultimate goal to play for England," Moore's wife Stephane told the English FA's website. "I remember him saying to me one day when we went to the old Wembley, 'You have no idea what it feels like to walk onto that pitch, it's like levitating'.

"It meant everything to him to represent his country at Wembley."

On 30 July 1966, Moore's dreams came true as England won the World Cup on home soil, defeating great rivals Germany in the final at Wembley -- outside of which a statue of their former captain proudly stands today.

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West Ham played a lead role in England's success, with Moore captaining the side, forward Geoff Hurst scoring a hat-trick (still the only player to do so in a World Cup final) and midfielder Martin Peters grabbing the home side's only other goal.

Four years later, as England tried to defend their trophy in Mexico, Moore led his team's resistance against Brazil in the group stages -- playing so well that the legendary Pele, whose team went on to win the trophy that year, singled him out for praise.

"Of the hundreds of defenders who played against me during my career I pick Bobby Moore as the greatest of them all," the FA website quoted Pele, the only player to have won three World Cup trophies, as saying.

Moore, who died from cancer, was also praised for his fine sportsmanship -- with a photo of himself and Pele greeting one another with mutual respect after their Mexican clash, which Brazil won 1-0, coming to symbolize what football's soul should be about for many.

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The defender wore the number 6 shirt for both club and country and the reason there was no West Ham player sporting that digit on the back of their jersey against Tottenham is that the club retired the shirt five years ago in memory of Moore.

After six minutes, there was another commemoration for a player who had a brief spell with another London club, Fulham, late in his career as applause broke out around the ground but soon after, it was Bale who stole the show.

The 23-year-old pounced upon a defensive error from West Ham to fire home from the edge of the box but the visitors' advantage was nullified as Andy Carroll won -- and then scored -- a penalty.

Just before the hour, West Ham fans began to think that the tribute to Moore would be crowned in fitting style as Joe Cole gave the home side the lead -- while at the other end, goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen was pulling off a string of fine saves.

He could not prevent Gylffi Sigurdsson equalizing 14 minutes from time however, so creating the platform for Bale to score a stunning winner as he lashed a strike into the top corner from 30 yards.

The win represented a crucial three points in Tottenham's bid to qualify for next year's Champions League, with Spurs leaping above Chelsea and, more importantly for some, going four points clear of rivals Arsenal -- who they host in Sunday's North London derby.

Elsewhere in Europe, second-placed Napoli were held to a 0-0 draw at Udinese, leaving them six points behind Serie A leaders Juventus.

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