Kane hits the winner as Spurs triumph at Everton to finish fifth
Harry Kane ended his fairytale season with the winning goal as Tottenham triumphed 1-0 at Everton on the final day and secured a fifth-place finish in the Premier League.
Spurs were good value for their victory, outplaying the Toffees for the vast majority of the game, and Kane ensured they left Merseyside with the three points, heading in from Eric Dier’s pinpoint cross after 24 minutes to net his 31st goal of the campaign for his club.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side have now done the double over Everton, having also won the encounter at White Hart Lane earlier in the season.
And, with Liverpool being thrashed 6-1 at Stoke, the Lilywhites overtook the Reds to finish in fifth place, securing a spot in next season’s Europa League without the need to go through a qualifying play-off round in August.
There was one change from the Spurs side that had won its last home game of the season against Hull the previous weekend. Danny Rose suffered a dead leg in training so Nabil Bentaleb moved to left-back, with Mousa Dembele coming into the midfield alongside Ryan Mason.
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Spurs were the sharper side from the start, aided by the fact that their hosts – who had little to play for – looked lacklustre and disinterested.
Erik Lamela fired over from just outside the box and the Argentine then latched onto Christian Eriksen’s chipped pass and forced a smart reaction save from Tim Howard, who had to scramble back to stop the ball crossing the line.
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Everton finally threatened as Kevin Mirallas got through on goal, but his effort lacked venom and Hugo Lloris was able to get down and gather the ball.
Spurs were being allowed to implement Pochettino’s philosophy perfectly, with Lamela and Nacer Chadli coming inside and getting involved centrally, while creating space for the full-backs – and it was right-back Dier who set up the opening goal. The 21-year-old whipped in a gloriously inviting cross, and Kane directed a diving header past Howard at close range.
The home fans were unimpressed by the lethargic display they were witnessing from the Toffees, with the only cheers coming with the repeated updates from the Britannia Stadium, where Stoke were building up a 5-0 half-time lead against Liverpool.
That was also great news for Spurs and, although they had a scare towards the end of the first half when Mirallas got in behind on the left and lobbed onto the roof of the net, the Lilywhites were comfortably 1-0 up at the interval.
Roberto Martinez responded with a half-time change, swapping Ross Barkley for Muhamed Besic, who quickly sent a low drive narrowly wide of the far post, and Leon Osman then volleyed wide from the left side of the box before Galloway broke into the area, only to be denied as Lloris dived bravely at his feet and grabbed the ball.
Tottenham were then forced into a 53rd-minute change, with Benjamin Stambouli replacing the impressive Dembele, but the visitors regained control and looked the more likely side to score around the hour-mark. Kane and Eriksen both saw shots blocked and Federico Fazio headed wide from the ensuing corner, and Chadli also had an effort blocked inside the box by the impressive John Stones.
Everton exerted some late pressure but there was nothing to really trouble Lloris, apart from an acrobatic volley from Steven Naismith, which flew over the bar.
Spurs ended their season on a high, keeping their second successive clean sheet – the first time they had achieved that fear since the opening two games of the season.
Tottenham: Lloris, Dier, Fazio, Vertonghen, Bentaleb, Mason, Dembele (Stambouli 53), Lamela, Eriksen, Chadli (Soldado 90), Kane (Townsend 85)
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs