The final match-write up of the season. 1920s round of applause for Ewan and his blogs. Salute.
Tirana calling for Conference bound Tottenham
Spurs twice came from behind to complete a rousing 4-2 win over Leicester City to seal a place in next season’s inaugural Europa Conference League.
Judging by Harry Kane’s determination to engage in ostentatious full-time on-field embraces with favoured teammates, qualification for the continent’s third-tier club competition will not dissuade him from forcing through a summer move. Kane scored his 23rd goal of a superb season here to win the Premier League’s golden boot for the third time in his stellar but as yet trophyless career. Few Spurs fans will argue that their world-class talisman deserves a far grander stage than the remotest outposts of the European game. They will, however, demand that Daniel Levy spares them a tortuous summer of speculation by resolving Kane’s future and filling the club’s managerial vacancy without delay.
Interim coach Ryan Mason made his final selection in the post by replacing the woefully out of sorts Eric Dier with the consistently unconvincing Davinson Sanchez at the heart of the Spurs defence. Nevertheless, Jamie Vardy was soon making hay. After fifteen minutes in which Leicester had been in the ascendency, Vardy tore off after a long punt down the left channel. Sanchez gave chase, but as the striker charged into the box and cut inside Alderweireld, the Belgian defender offered him a trailing leg. Vardy tumbled over, and initially, Anthony Taylor waved the forward’s penalty appeals away until he was advised otherwise by VAR. Vardy took the kick himself, coolly sending Lloris the wrong way.
Spurs offered little in response until the dying minutes of the first half. Dele Alli teased a glorious pass through the heart of the Leicester defence where Son had timed his run perfectly to meet the ball on the six-yard box. The spin on the ball forced the Korean to turn away from the goal, and as he tried to tee up Kane for a tap in, Söyüncü recovered to defuse the danger.
Moments later, Kane bustled his way through two defenders on the right wing to win a corner. Son’s kick fell to Doherty at the back post, who fired in a shot that flew back to the winger. Son flashed the ball across the area where it looped up off Luke Thomas towards the penalty spot. Kane’s eyes locked on the ball, and the striker – perhaps for the last time in a Spurs shirt – demonstrated his supreme technique sweeping home a thudding volley.
With a draw useless to both sides, the second half became a breathless affair as the hosts and visitors committed to attacking with near-complete abandon. Five minutes after the interval, realising he was unlikely to catch Maddison’s crafty through-ball, Jamie Vardy tied Davinson Sanchez up in a wristlock. As the Colombian defender wrestled to reverse the hold, Vardy took his second fall in the box. Staggeringly even after a VAR review, rather than a foul on Sanchez, Vardy was awarded another penalty. The striker buried this one even more emphatically than the first. In search of an equaliser, Ryan Mason replaced Alli and the ineffective Bergwijn for Bale and Moura.
With 13 minutes remaining and Chelsea losing at Villa Park, Brendan Rodgers’ Foxes held a Champions League spot within their grasp. That was until Kasper Schmeichel let Son’s corner through his. Under what can only be described as a modicum of pressure from Sanchez, the keeper fisted the ball into his own net. It was a goal the likes of which has gone unseen in British football since John Lukic’s similar effort while playing for Leeds at Ibrox way back in 1992.
Leicester’s need for a goal in the final ten minutes was now absolute, and in their eagerness to fly forward, Spurs dissected them on the break. Bale steered an inch-perfect pass to Son in the box, and the forward reversed the ball to Kane with a perceptive drag back. Söyüncü and Schmeichel momentarily appeared to have averted the threat by forcing the striker wide. But as well as being the league’s top scorer, Kane also leads the way in assists. His ball back to Bale set up the Welshman with a simple finish into the unguarded net.
There was still time for Spurs to add a fourth in injury time when Söyüncü lashed a clearance against Tielemans. The ricochet fell to Bale, who drove into the Leicester area and played an inadvertent one-two with the inside of Schmeichel’s right post before tapping the ball across the line.
Bale’s future at Spurs has been somewhat lost in the feeding frenzy over Harry Kane. But this brace took his league tally to an impressive 11. Perhaps had Bale been given more minutes on the pitch this season, Kane might already be holding the winners’ medals he craves.
Over to you, Mr Levy.
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