Spurs 4-3 Leicester
Report from the Lane
21 March 2015|Tottenham Hotspur
Harry Kane hit a first-ever Premier League hat-trick as we edged an entertaining game against Leicester City at the Lane on Saturday afternoon.
The in-form striker added three more goals to take his tally to 29 for the season in all competitions just two days after receiving his first senior England call-up, and they were important on the day too as they helped us pick up the win against a dogged Foxes outfit.
Kane opened the scoring from close range on six minutes and benefitted from a deflection to add our second after 13 minutes, before the visitors hit back to level things up through Jamie Vardy and Wes Morgan early in the second half.
But we rallied again to seal the points, Kane completing his treble with a 64th minute penalty and an own goal from Jeff Schlupp restoring our two-goal advantage. David Nugent drilled home in injury time to give us a few nervous minutes, but we held on to complete the league double over Leicester for the season.
Head Coach Mauricio Pochettino selected the same starting line-up which had lost at Old Trafford last weekend, but it wasn’t long before we saw a change to the team, in unfortunate circumstances.
The game had barely got underway when there was an early injury to Hugo Lloris, who was in a collision with Kyle Walker and Nugent inside the second minute. The keeper was unable to continue and left the pitch on a stretcher, replaced by Michel Vorm for his first appearance in our colours in the Premier League.
After the restart it was the visitors who almost took the lead on five minutes when Schlupp crossed for Nugent, his header blocked in front of goal by Jan Vertonghen before the ball was hacked clear.
Within a minute, though, we were ahead. Andros Townsend’s corner was flicked on with his heel by Eric Dier, Kasper Schmeichel could only parry the ball straight to the feet of Kane three yards out and he couldn’t miss, tapping home his 27th goal of the season.
Leicester always carried a threat offensively, though, and were close to levelling with a speculative effort from Nugent on 11 minutes. Leonardo Ulloa poked the ball forwards to the City striker 15 yards inside our half and, spotting Vorm off his line, he hit a first time looping effort which the goalkeeper just managed to palm away to his left and gather at the second attempt.
Once again we made them pay for a missed opportunity with our second of the game two minutes later. Townsend set Walker away down the right with a nutmeg on Schlupp, the full-back getting to the byline before cutting it back for Kane who slashed a shot goalwards, his effort skewing off the face of Robert Huth and spinning into the far corner.
Nugent had another sight of goal on 18 minutes, racing clear down the right and into the area but firing a right-footed effort across Vorm but well wide of the far post.
And the ‘your turn, our turn’ pattern of chances continued as it was us who went close next five minutes later. Danny Rose won possession inside the Leicester half and found Christian Eriksen, who drifted across the edge of the area, beating a couple of defenders as he went, before sliding a shot which Schmeichel did well to tip onto the far post. The rebound came straight out to Nacer Chadli, but he fired over the bar.
Leicester finished the half strongly, pulling one back and almost drawing level before the break. Esteban Cambiasso side-footed wide before their attacking impetus paid dividends with a goal on 38 minutes. It was a break down the right flank, Nugent picking up the ball and sending over a low inviting cross to the far post where Vardy was on hand to stroke home from the edge of the area.
Then in first half stoppage time, the roles were reversed as Vardy centred for Nugent, he collected the ball inside the area and as he was about to pull the trigger, Rose slid into nick the ball away with a well-timed tackle.
That ensured we held a one-goal advantage at the interval, but that was cancelled out five minutes into the second period. Schlupp led the charge for the visitors, cutting a ball back for Nugent on the edge of the area, who in turn found Ulloa. His centre from the byline was diverted over for a corner and from the set-piece, Morgan powered a header past Vorm to make it 2-2.
We introduced Paulinho in place of Townsend as we looked to regain the lead, but it was Leicester who went close to moving ahead on the afternoon when Huth headed just wide from a Matty James corner on 59 minutes.
Then came the hat-trick goal for Kane, given the opportunity from the penalty spot after Nugent had clumsily upended Rose as he burst into the area. The striker stepped up and, in front of the watching England manager Roy Hodgson, sent Schmeichel the wrong way to give us the lead and complete a first-ever Premier League treble for the young man.
Moments later he almost had a fourth when Chadli clipped a delightful ball from the left over the heads of the City defence for Kane but, stretching to reach the cross, he fired over the bar. And when Ryan Mason and Eric Dier led the foray forwards down the left on 72 minutes, it looked for all the world that we would go 4-2 ahead as Dier’s teasing cross found Chadli at the far post, but he sent his effort over Leicester’s bar.
At the other end, Walker needed to be alert to snuff out the danger when Vardy was almost clean through, before two of the Foxes’ substitutes almost combined for the equaliser, Marcin Wasilewski heading over Riyad Mahrez’s corner. Vertonghen was then called upon to make a superb tackle to prevent Vardy getting through on goal, but just when the visitors were stepping up the pace we killed the game off with the fourth goal.
Chadli played a pass inside to Paulinho who in turn found Eriksen in on goal with just Schmeichel to beat. The keeper slid out to block his effort but the ball cannoned up off Schlupp before bouncing over the line to make it 4-2.
There was still time for Nugent to bundle his way past Vertonghen’s challenge in the 90th minute and drive low into the bottom corner past Vorm, which ensured yet again we had to hold on for the closing minutes. But we did so to keep up our challenge on the teams above us.
Mauricio Pochettino said
“It was important to get the three points and to come back in a positive way after the defeat against Manchester United,” said Mauricio. “I’m happy with the win.
“We need to analyse the game and take the positives but we also need to improve because we suffered so much.
“At 2-0, we believed the game was finished but we conceded one goal and then it went to 2-2 in the second half. Then at 4-2 maybe the game was finished again, but we conceded another goal in the 90th minute and then suffered again for the last three minutes.
“It’s about experience. I think we had some very good moments but we conceded three goals and that’s too much at home, so we need to improve defensively.”
Mauricio also had praise for Harry, who reached 29 for the season with his treble: “Congratulations to him, it’s a very good thing for all strikers and for Harry it’s his first in the Premier League. We’re all happy for him.”
Spurs (4-3-2-1): Lloris (Vorm 4), Walker, Vertonghen, Dier, Rose, Mason (Dembele 88), Bentaleb, Townsend (Paulinho 58), Eriksen, Chadli, Kane. Substitutes (not used): Davies, Chiriches, Lamela, Adebayor.
Leicester (5-4-1): Schmeichel, De Laet, Morgan, Upson (Wasilewski 46), Huth (Mahrez 76), Schlupp, Nugent, James, Cambiasso (King 86), Vardy, Ulloa. Substitutes (not used): Schwarzer, Konchesky, Drinkwater, Kramaric.
Goals: Spurs – Kane 6, 13, 64 penalty, Schlupp og 85; Leicester – Vardy 38, Morgan 50, Nugent 90.
Yellow cards: Spurs – Chadli, Rose; Leicester – Nugent.
Referee: Mike Dean.