Kane celebrates landmark with solo goal as Spurs beat Southampton to move into top four
Harry Kane scored a superb solo goal in his 100th game for Tottenham as the Lilywhites triumphed 2-0 at Southampton and leapfrogged Manchester United to move into the top four.
Spurs started slowly and the Saints’ Sadio Mane had three shots blocked or saved – but Mauricio Pochettino’s visitors struck twice in three minutes at the end of the first half.
Kane scored a goal out of nothing, running from near the halfway line and beating Virgil van Dijk before finishing with aplomb, and Kyle Walker then set up Dele Alli, who netted his fourth goal in nine starts for club and country.
Tottenham consequently overtook Man United – who suffered a home defeat against Norwich – and will spend Christmas Day in fourth place.
There were two changes from the Spurs side that had lined up in the 2-1 home defeat against Newcastle the previous weekend, with Mousa Dembele returning from injury and Ben Davies replacing Danny Rose – who missed out through illness – at left-back.
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Southampton were much sharper in the early stages, with Mane presenting a constant threat – but good goalkeeping and defending from Spurs’ centre-backs kept him out.
Steven Davis played the ball over the top for the Senegalese forward, whose shot was well blocked by Toby Alderweield on his return to St Mary’s.
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Dusan Tadic then played a low ball across the box to Mane and his first-time shot forced a fine low save from Hugo Lloris. When he got in again, Jan Vertonghen made a timely sliding block.
Spurs continued to labour at the other end for more than 35 minutes, but they then began to improve. Kane played a neat one-two with Christian Eriksen and forced a low save from Paulo Gazzaniga – and the Lilywhites then took the lead five minutes before the break.
There seemed little danger as Alli prodded the ball to Kane just inside Southampton’s half, getting a crunching tackle for his trouble. Kane was all alone with three defenders around him, but he made a beeline for goal and beat Van Dijk before slotting clinically past Gazzaniga.
It was a fine individual goal but scarcely deserved – and suddenly it was 2-0 as Walker attacked down the right side and delivered a low cross to the unmarked Alli, who had time to take a touch six yards out before finishing with ease.
Chances proved harder to come by in the second period, which suited Spurs. Graziano Pelle got a curling shot off but it was comfortably caught by Lloris above his head, and the Southampton forward then took a swing at a low cross but was unable to connect properly.
At the other end, Kane was close to getting on the end of an Eriksen free kick and Eriksen sent a low shot at Gazzaniga from 20 yards before Erik Lamela teed up substitute Tom Carroll, whose shot was weak.
The Saints very nearly got a goal back at the death as James Ward-Prowse struck the ball firmly towards the bottom right corner inside the box, but somehow Lloris got down to make another reaction save.
Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier, Dembele, Lamela, Alli (Carroll 79), Eriksen (Chadli 86), Kane (Son 91)
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs