Harry Kane netted his 150th goal in club football as a late header claimed a vital 1-0 victory for Tottenham against Crystal Palace, handing a hammer blow to the Eagles’ bid for Premier League survival in the process.
Having missed a gilt-edged opportunity earlier in the second half, Kane made amends in the 88th minute of Sunday’s clash at Selhurst Park, powering home a brilliant header from Christian Eriksen’s corner.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side had dominated throughout, but often struggled to break down Palace’s stubborn defence.
Eriksen did manage to carve out an opening in the 54th minute, only for Kane to volley wide from inside the six-yard box.
It was Kane’s second big opportunity of the game, with Wayne Hennessey having pulled off an excellent stop to deny the Premier League’s leading scorer early on.
Palace’s injury woes were compounded late on when defender James Tomkins went down in innocuous fashion, and his absence was felt when Kane finally headed home the winner with the final whistle fast approaching.
Palace were fortunate not to concede a penalty inside eight minutes – Hennessey’s indecision almost proving costly when he brought down Ben Davies, but Kevin Friend waved play on.
Hennessey atoned moments later, though, rushing out to deny Kane following Patrick van Aanholt’s poor clearance, before James McArthur saw a goal-bound strike blocked at the other end.
Referee Friend did point to the spot on the half-hour mark after Timothy Fosu-Mensah brought down Kane, only for the official to quickly change his decision with the linesman’s flag correctly raised for offside.
For all Tottenham’s domination, Palace could have snatched the lead when Andros Townsend broke clear of his marker just prior to half-time, but the winger failed to generate enough power on his effort to beat Hugo Lloris.
Tottenham continued on the front foot after the restart, and Eriksen should have done better with a close-range effort five minutes into the second half, but it was Kane who wasted the best opportunity of the game soon after.
Aurier and Eriksen combined superbly to tee up the England striker, who – despite being unmarked – somehow failed to convert from five yards out.
Former Paris-Saint Germain defender Aurier was the next to try his luck, forcing Hennessey into a fine save with a venomous strike.
The Ivory Coast international was involved at the other end shortly after, doing brilliantly to deny Alexander Sorloth.
Lucas Moura was soon introduced for his Premier League debut as Pochettino pushed for a winner – Hennessey getting down low to prevent Davies’ strike finding the bottom-left corner.
A late injury to Tomkins made things even more difficult for Palace, with Aurier failing to tuck home into an open goal before Kane shot just wide.
But Tottenham finally got the goal their performance warranted as Kane leapt high above his markers to connect with Eriksen’s delightful cross and break Palace’s resolve, as Pochettino’s side moved up, temporarily at least, into the top four.
Key Opta stats:
– Spurs are now unbeaten in their last 15 games in all competitions (W9 D6); their longest run since going 16 without defeat between December 1998 and March 1999.
– Harry Kane scored the 150th goal of his club career in all competitions, with 134 of those coming as a Spurs player.
– The England international’s goals have been worth more points to his club than any other player in the Premier League this season (14).
– Kane has netted 23 goals in 34 Premier League London derbies – equalling Didier Drogba’s total in the competition (23 in 64).
– Crystal Palace are winless in their last five Premier League games (D2 L3); their worst run since Roy Hodgson took charge back in September 2017.
– Spurs have conceded just one goal in their last six games against the Eagles in the Premier League, winning all six meetings.
– In fact, Spurs have won three consecutive away league games against Crystal Palace for the first time in their history.
– Only Darren Anderton (67) has provided more assists for Spurs in the Premier League than Christian Eriksen (45), who is now joint-second for the club alongside Aaron Lennon.
– The Eagles haven’t won any of their eight Premier League games when Wilfried Zaha didn’t feature this season (P8 W0 D0 L8).