APOEL Nicosia 0 Tottenham Hotspur 3: Hat-trick hero Harry Kane fires Spurs to success in Cyprus
PUBLISHED: 21:35 26 September 2017
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UEFA Champions League, Group H: APOEL Nicosia 0 Tottenham Hotspur 3 (Kane 39, 62, 67)
Harry Kane struck a superb hat-trick for Tottenham Hotspur as they eventually overcome APOEL Nicosia to make it two wins from two in the Champions League.
After riding their luck a little in the first half, Spurs led at the break through a Kane strike – his ninth in all competitions for club and country September.
Kane later added goals 10 and 11 for the month in the second half to secure all three points for the north Londoners as they enjoyed a successful trip to Cyprus.
Illness and suspension saw Spurs forced into three changes from the XI that start Saturday’s 3-2 win at West Ham United in the Premier League.
Kieran Trippier and Harry Winks came in for the suspended pair of Jan Vertonghen and Dele Alli respectively, while Heung-Min Son took the place of Christian Eriksen, who was suffering from a bug.
Trippier’s inclusion led to a reshuffle at the back, with the England international coming in at left wing-back and Ben Davies moving to centre-back, where he regularly plays for Wales.
Winks slotted into central midfield alongside Eric Dier, allowing Moussa Sissoko to move further forward and alongside Son behind striker Kane.
Tottenham went close to an opener in just the fourth minute, but Son saw his close range shot following a quick break blocked behind by home defender Carlao for a corner.
From there, the north Londoners continue to dominate possession, though were unable to fashion many chances with it.
At the other end in the, APOEL nearly took a shock lead in the 17th minute, but Roland Sallai could only head a Ghayas Zahid cross from the right wide.
It seemed to spark Tottenham into greater urgency, with Son putting a free header over the bar from close range after being found in the box by Trippier a minute later.
The game had become a little frantic, with the Cypriot champions rattling the crossbar through striker Igor de Camargo in the 19th minute.
With nine minutes left in the half, a Zahid corner from the left was narrowly headed wide by Carlao at the far post.
A minute later, Spurs stopper Hugo Lloris came to clear a long ball over the top, but saw his clearance cannon back off defender Davinson Sanchez.
That led to a panicked chase with Sallai to get to the ball, but mercifully for the visitors, it went behind before the APOEL man could get a touch.
Perhaps against the run of play, Spurs were able to take the lead in the 39th minute through Kane to make it four goals in his last four Champions League outings.
Alderweireld played the play forward along the ground from defence, finding the talismanic Tottenham forward, who duly slotted past the onrushing Boy Waterman with his left boot.
It was a goal that ensured Spurs took the lead into half-time, however fortunate that may have seemed.
Just two minutes into the second half, though, APOEL continue to show their attacking threat, with Zahid putting a half-volley from inside the box just over.
Less than 30 seconds later, Sallai also went close, but saw his effort well saved by Lloris.
Eleven minutes into the second half, the Cypriot champions broke again, this time down the left with Efstathios Aloneftis drawing another good stop from Lloris.
Spurs, though, again netted against the run of play in the 62nd minute, with Kane again on target.
The move started when Trippier played in Sissoko down the right, with the French international then cutting the ball back for Kane, who duly found the net from the edge of the area with a right-footed shot.
The England international then completed his ninth Spurs hat-trick, this one of the perfect variety, six minutes later, heading home a Trippier cross from the right.
Kane’s third all but ended the match as a contest, with Son having a volley from 20 yards deflected wide for a corner in the 69th minute.
From there, Tottenham were content to see the game out and were able to hand youngster Anthony Georgiou his first-team debut with six minutes remaining.
APOEL themselves were keen to score a consolation goal, with defender Jesus Rueda firing a 25-yard free kick over in the 85th minute, while de Camargo also tried his luck with an acrobatic effort in the closing minutes.
Spurs, though, were able to see the game through without conceding, and will hope their trip to Cyprus has not taken too much out of them ahead of Saturday’s trip to Huddersfield Town in the Premier League.
APOEL (4-2-3-1): Waterman; Vouros, Rueda, Carlao, Lago; Morais (Alexandrou 84), Vinicius; Zahid, Sallai (Makris 63), Aloneftis (Farias 75); De Camargo.
Subs: Gudino, Merkis, Pote, Antoniou.
Spurs (3-4-2-1): Lloris; Alderweireld, Sanchez, Davies; Aurier (Llorente 57), Dier, Winks, Trippier; Sissoko (Georgiou 84), Son; Kane (N’Koudou 75).
Subs: Vorm, Foyth, Walker-Peters, Oakley-Boothe.
Referee: Pavel Kralovec