Season ends with comeback win at Leicester - report and debrief
Leicester City 2-4 Spurs
Sun 23 May 2021, 18:10|Tottenham Hotspur
European football was secured next season as we ended the campaign on a high note, beating Leicester City 4-2 at the King Power Stadium with Harry Kane scoring to win the Golden Boot and Gareth Bale coming off the bench to net twice in an entertaining encounter.
We trailed 1-0 and 2-1 to Jamie Vardy penalties on Sunday afternoon but fought back each time, Kane’s 23rd goal of the season drawing us level at 1-1 while a Kasper Schmeichel own goal made it 2-2 with only 13 minutes remaining. Bale then struck twice late on to give us three valuable points and ensure we finished the season in seventh to earn a place in next year’s newly-created Europa Conference League.
The home side took the lead in the 18th minute from the penalty spot, awarded for a trip by Toby Alderweireld on Vardy. Initially, referee Anthony Taylor waved play on but a VAR review led to the official checking the incident on the pitchside monitor and reversing his decision to a spot-kick, which Vardy slotted right-footed past Hugo Lloris.
Leicester were the better team without causing Lloris too many problems before we came back into it in the closing minutes of the half and were rewarded with the equaliser. Heung-Min Son clipped the ball into the danger area and it fell to Kane, who connected superbly with a volley that flew past Schmeichel.
Seven minutes after the restart, the Foxes were back in front courtesy of another penalty, Davinson Sanchez adjudged to have brought down Vardy after a tangle of arms right on the edge of the area as they chased James Maddison’s through ball. Vardy made no mistake again from 12 yards.
Both sides had good chances as Kane fired over from the edge of the area and Kelechi Iheanacho was denied by Lloris before we levelled it up again, Son sending over a corner which Schmeichel attempted to punch clear but the ball glanced off his glove and into the net. We were in the ascendency at that stage and the Leicester keeper saved well from Son, while some last-ditch defending from the home side was keeping us at bay. But we took the lead for the first time in the game three minutes from the end with a well-worked goal. Bale came in off the right flank to thread a lovely ball in to Son, who back-heeled to Kane breaking into the area. He skipped over Schmeichel’s challenge and, although pushed wide, had time to pick out Bale who slammed left-footed into the back of the net.
And the points were wrapped up deep into stoppage time when Bale pounced on a loose ball to race into the area and although he hit the post with his first effort, he tapped the rebound into an empty net to give us a fantastic last-day win.
For Kane, it meant a third Golden Boot to follow up his awards of 2015/16 and 2016/17, while he also topped the charts for most assists in this Premier League campaign with 14.
Lads sign off with great comeback
After the disappointment of our home defeat to Aston Villa on Wednesday, it was important to end the campaign on a positive and we did that in some style, even though it didn’t look likely at times. Leicester started the day in fifth and needed a win to give themselves any hopes of finishing in the top four, so it was no surprise with the intensity that they started the game, grabbing the lead through Vardy’s 18th-minute penalty.
Marc Albrighton tested Lloris with a fizzing 25-yarder but that was the extent of the chances even during their bright spell and as the half wore on, we managed to get a foothold in the contest. We almost scored on 37 minutes after Dele Alli found Son in behind the Leicester defence, he picked out Kane who was about to tap home but Caglar Soyuncu stuck out a foot to deny him. Four minutes later, though, we were level. Matt Doherty’s curling shot was blocked by the head of Wilfred Ndidi, Son turned the rebound back into the area and Kane snaffled up the chance with a well-struck volley.
A lively second half saw the Foxes go back in front thanks to another Vardy penalty after Nampalys Mendy had already tested Lloris from distance and the tails were up for the home side as they sought the win they so desperately needed. But when Schmeichel’s mis-timed punch gave us another equaliser, the tide started to turn in our favour and Son almost put us ahead, only to be denied by the Foxes’ goalkeeper. Then came our late goals to give us all something to cheer in this season finale, Bale coming off the bench to hit a quick-fire double.
It was a win which ensured European football next season – the 15th time we’ve been in continental competition in the last 16 years.
Kane’s top of the charts again
Striker Kane went into the final day joint top of the Premier League goalscoring charts, level on 22 goals with Liverpool’s Mo Salah. But, while the Egyptian failed to find the target in their 2-0 win over Crystal Palace, Kane’s lovely finish at the King Power proved to be enough to put him top of the pile once again.
If there was one team Kane would have wanted to play against on the last day of the season, it may well have been Leicester City. The England forward has an unbelievable goalscoring record against the Foxes and Sunday’s strike was his 15th goal against them in 12 Premier League matches.
This was also the 15th consecutive Premier League game in which we’ve scored, the longest current run in the competition.
Team news saw Interim Head Coach Ryan Mason make two changes to the team that started against Villa last time out. Doherty was back for Japhet Tanganga, injured in that Villa match, while Sanchez came in for Eric Dier. Academy youngsters Nile John and Dane Scarlett were on the bench, John for the very first time in the Premier League.
Reaction on Spurs TV
'Quality and energy won us the game'
Ryan told Spurs TV afterwards: "First of all, it’s important for me to say that the Football Club lost someone very special in Simon Bamber, so I think it’s right we dedicate that win to him and his family. It’s a really big win for us. Look, we came here to win the game after Wednesday’s disappointment. The players on the pitch ran, they fought together, even in difficult moments, and I’m very proud to have had the opportunity to represent the Club in the position I’ve been in, and it was important today, it was an important game for us and for them. I just thought our quality and our energy won us the game in the end."
Leicester City 2-4 Spurs
Leicester (3-4-1-2): Schmeichel (c), Castagne, Fofana (Mendy 21), Soyuncu, Albrighton (Perez 80), Ndidi, Tielemans, Thomas, Maddison (Ricardo 62), Iheanacho, Vardy. Substitutes (not used): Ward, Morgan, Amartey, Fuchs, Choudhury, Praet.
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris (c), Doherty, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Reguilon, Højbjerg, Winks, Bergwijn (Bale 68), Dele (Lucas 68), Son (Rodon 90+3), Kane. Substitutes (not used): Hart, Dier, John, Lamela, Scarlett, Vinicius.
Goals: Leicester – Vardy 18 (pen), 52 (pen); Spurs – Kane 41, Schmeichel (OG) 77, Bale 87, 90+6.
Yellow cards: Spurs – Bergwijn, Winks.
Referee: Anthony Taylor.
Venue: King Power Stadium, Leicester.
Weather: Light rain, windy, 12 degrees.