Kane hits first Premier League hat-trick as Spurs survive scare against Leicester
Tottenham striker Harry Kane’s momentous week continued as he followed his first senior England call-up with his first Premier League hat-trick in a 4-3 home win over Leicester City.
Having scored in the first minute in the reverse fixture on Boxing Day, Kane – who had a loan spell at Leicester – struck twice in the opening 13 minutes to give Spurs a 2-0 lead.
The visitors hit back either side of half-time to equalise with goals from Jamie Vardy and Wes Morgan, but Kane scored a penalty just after the hour-mark and Christian Eriksen forced an own goal from Jeff Schlupp five minutes from time.
Spurs let Leicester back into the game again as David Nugent scored in the 90th minute, but they held on to move three points outside the top four.
Mauricio Pochettino named an unchanged line-up after last Sunday’s woeful 3-0 defeat at Old Trafford and, although Spurs suffered an early blow as Hugo Lloris was stretchered off with a knee injury after a collision in the opening moments, the hosts enjoyed the perfect start.
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With just six minutes on the clock, Eric Dier flicked on Andros Townsend’s corner and, when Kasper Schmeichel dived to save, Kane was on hand to finish at close range.
Leicester threatened as Nugent nearly caught Spurs’ deputy keeper Michel Vorm out with a 40-yard volley, forcing a diving save, but Tottenham doubled their lead in the 13th minute.
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Townsend released Kyle Walker down the right and his low cross deflected off Robert Huth and fell for Kane, whose first-time strike hit Huth’s head and flew into the top left corner.
Kane was denied a quickfire hat-trick by the offside flag, having finished clinically after Christian Eriksen’s first-time through ball.
Eriksen then went close, making a trademark run across the box and seeing his low shot tipped onto the left post by a diving Schmeichel, while Nacer Chadli skied his follow-up into the stands.
However, Leicester struck back as Nugent got down the right and delivered a low cross for Vardy, who finished past Vorm. And, although Spurs continued to dominate possession, the Foxes grew in confidence and maintained their threat on the break.
Walker flicked Leonardo Ulloa’s cross away from the waiting Vardy, and Danny Rose then had to make a well-timed sliding tackle before making a towering header at the back post, while Ulloa got up above Walker but headed over the bar just before half-time.
The equaliser duly arrived in the 50th minute as Leicester captain Morgan lost Nabil Bentaleb and headed home from the corner, and suddenly Spurs were on the ropes. Huth headed just wide from another set piece as the Foxes grew in the belief that they could come from behind to win at the Lane for the second time in 2015, having knocked the Lilywhites out of the FA Cup with two goals in the last 10 minutes in January.
However, Rose then robbed Nugent in the Leicester box and was brought down by the visitors’ forward. Referee Mike Dean pointed to the penalty spot and Kane stepped up to restore Tottenham’s lead.
Spurs extended their advantage in the 85th minute as substitute Paulinho played a through ball to Eriksen, who was denied by the onrushing Schmeichel - but the ball struck the unfortunate Schlupp as he raced back to help out, and bounced over the line.
The hosts appeared to be home and dry, but Leicester hit back again in the 90th minute as Nugent latched onto a routine long ball, shrugged off Jan Vertonghen to leave the Belgian on the deck and volleyed past Vorm.
Pochettino’s side had given themselves another nervy finish, but the final whistle went soon after and relief flooded around the Lane.
Tottenham: Lloris (Vorm 4), Walker, Dier, Vertonghen, Rose, Bentaleb, Mason (Dembele 88), Townsend (Paulinho 58), Eriksen, Chadli, Kane