Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur players in action during their Premier League game on Sunday. NEWCASTLE: Newcastle United obliterated Premier League top-four rivals Tottenham Hotspur with a five-goal salvo in the opening 21 minutes on the way to a 6-1 rout at a rocking St James’ Park on Sunday. A game billed as a crucial six-pointer in the race to secure Champions League qualification was effectively all over before the clock had reached 10 minutes as fifth-placed Tottenham collapsed like a pack of cards. Jacob Murphy got the scoreboard ticking in the second minute after Hugo Lloris spilled a Joelinton shot and four minutes later Joelinton rounded Lloris to slot in his side’s second goal. Murphy then belted in his second and Newcastle’s third from long range and there was a sense of disbelief in the stadium as Alexander Isak produced two clinical finishes in the space of two minutes to make it 5-0. It was the second-earliest a team had taken a five-goal lead in Premier League history after Manchester City scored five in the opening 18 minutes against Watford in 2019. Tottenham’s fans high in the Leazes Stand had no stomach for any more humiliation with many heading for the exits and the long journey back home long before halftime. The only question left was whether Newcastle could surpass their record Premier League victory of 8-0 against Sheffield Wednesday in 1999 and whether Tottenham could avoid their record top-flight defeat — a 7-0 drubbing at Liverpool in 1978. Tottenham improved after the break, although it was hard not to, with Harry Kane slotting in a consolation goal four minutes into the second half but Callum Wilson scored Newcastle’s sixth one minute after coming off the bench. It was the perfect response by Newcastle to last week’s 3-0 defeat at Aston Villa and took them a big step closer to a return to the Champions League for the first time for 20 years. Newcastle moved above Manchester United into third place with 59 points, six more than fifth-placed Tottenham who have also played a game more and whose hopes of a top-four finish now look to be all but over. LETHAL FINISHING: “It was an incredible start to the game,” Newcastle manager Eddie Howe told Sky Sports. “We elevated our performance in that opening half an hour. You don’t expect that but the quality of our finishing was lethal today.” Tottenham’s shambolic state was exemplified by young midfielder Pape Matar Sarr being substituted after 23 minutes after looking out of his depth and being replaced by defender Davinson Sanchez who was booed by his own fans last week after coming off the bench in the defeat by Bournemouth. “In football if you go on the pitch without the desire to show aggressiveness it makes things very hard,” Tottenham captain Lloris, who went off injured at halftime, told Sky Sports. “It was a bit of a mess on the field.” It was a truly shocking afternoon for Tottenham from the moment they allowed Joelinton to amble into the area and shoot, with Lloris unable to hold the ball and Murphy pouncing. Fabian Schar then picked out Joelinton’s run and the Brazilian glided around Lloris before slotting in. Tottenham were then left stunned as Son Heung-min lost the ball and Murphy left Lloris standing with a powerful strike. Swedish striker Isak got in on the act with a composed finish after being released by Joe Willock’s sublime pass and then slotting in after Newcastle again scythed through a Tottenham defence resembling Swiss cheese. Fraser Forster took over from Lloris at halftime and Tottenham briefly rallied as Kane took his Premier League goal tally for the season to 24. But Wilson made sure Newcastle had the last laugh on a remarkable afternoon on Tyneside.