Kane’s first goals at new stadium help Spurs clinch opening-day win against Villa
PUBLISHED: 19:36 10 August 2019 | UPDATED: 19:36 10 August 2019
PA Wire/PA Images
Premier League: Tottenham Hotspur 3 Aston Villa 1
Harry Kane's first two goals at the club's new stadium and a wonderful equaliser by Tanguy Ndombele helped Spurs fight back from a goal down to defeat Aston Villa in the opening match of the Premier League this season for the two teams.
For long periods it seemed Dean Smith was about to mark his first managerial match in the top flight with a shock win at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
John McGinn fired the Championship play-off winners ahead and the Lilywhites were devoid of ideas in the first half.
Yet Christian Eriksen was summoned with 26 minutes left and it had the desired effect for boss Mauricio Pochettino, who saw his team storm back to clinch three points.
Ndombele's leveller was of the highest quality and Kane showed his class and hinted he could be on for a big season with two typically predatory finishes in the final four minutes in N17 to make it a happy first match of the campaign for Tottenham.
Spurs were missing a number of key players and deadline day signings Giovani Lo Celso and Ryan Sessegnon were not deemed fit enough to start.
The latter is expected to be sidelined for the majority of August while the Argentinian will hope to be involved at Manchester City next weekend.
With so many absent, Pochettino selected Kyle Walker-Peters at right-back and high up the pitch close to Kane and Lucas Moura was Erik Lamela, with Eriksen benched.
Jan Vertonghen was unavailable with a muscle injury, so Davinson Sanchez partnered Toby Alderweireld in defence and Ndombele made his Spurs debut after signing from Lyon earlier in the summer.
Jack Grealish captained Aston Villa at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium - a place he could have called home had things worked out differently over the past 12 months.
A minute's applause took place before kick-off to remember the life of former left-back Justin Edinburgh, who passed away during the summer at the age of 49.
His family joined the players on the pitch before Christopher Kavanagh officially got the Lilywhites campaign underway when he blew his whistle for the start of the game.
Moura immediately showed Villa no sloppiness was allowed at this level as he robbed Ahmed Ekmohamady of the ball, but fired over after cutting inside in the first minute.
The Brazilian should have opened the scoring not long after, but headed straight at Tom Heaton from 10-yards following Danny Rose's excellent cross.
Pochettino's team continued to press for the opener, although got hit with a sucker-punch in the eighth minute as the new boys took a shock lead in the eighth minute.
Tyrone Mings stopped the run of McGinn and picked him out perfectly with a long range pass that sailed over the head of Sanchez. Rose came across, but didn't do enough and lost his footing as the midfielder drilled into the bottom corner.
It was an excellent goal from Villa's point of view, but a terribly sloppy one from the hosts and Tottenham would have been frustrated after a positive opening spell.
The pace of the contest was frantic and tackles were flying in as Spurs were getting frustrated when long balls were being easily cut out by the visitors back line.
Smith's men almost grabbed a second when Conor Hourihane slipped in Trezeguet with a wonderful through ball, but Alderweireld got back in and blocked his effort.
A plethora of crosses were being delivered into the Villa area and yet no quality was being shown by the Lilywhites, who reached the 30-minute mark without seriously testing Heaton.
In the 32nd minute a perfect example of this occurred when Lamela took a corner short with Ndombele, but saw his delivery hit Grealish, who proceeded to hit Tottenham on the counter.
He raced into aches of space and passed into Trezeguet, but he didn't take his effort from inside the area early enough and Lloris saved comfortably to his left.
Kane finally had some involvement with 34 on the clock when Sanchez passed into his path, although Heaton remained untroubled with the striker smashing high, wide and handsome.
Sissoko was not at his best and this was evident eight minutes before half time when Lamela slipped him in and instead of knocking across the face of the visitors' goal, he tried to cut back inside and was disposed.
Winks, who had also started sluggishly, produced a fine tackle on Trezeguet in the 41st minute to prevent him bearing down on Lloris' goal.
He also turned away from Anwar El Ghazi easily, but seemed to pull up afterwards - the last thing Spurs needed given their current injury list.
There was still time for Pochettino's team to fashion one more chance before half time and it was arguably their best of the opening 45.
Ndombele, who was growing into the fixture, linked up with Walker-Peters and chipped into Kane, but he headed over with the cross a fraction to high for him.
Spurs' number 10 was also played through seconds later by Erik Lamela, into one minute of stoppage time, but his blushes were spared after a wayward finish by the offside flag.
No changes were made at the interval, although Tottenham seemed to step up a notch with Lamela almost getting in and then Sissoko missing an excellent opening.
The Argentine picked him out with a cross to the back post, but Spurs' player of the last season dragged his shot wide and out for a throw despite having only Heaton to beat from eight-yards.
Video Assistant Referee (VAR) was used not long after and very quickly to determine that Sanchez had no illegally brought down McGinn in the area.
Pochettino saw his team continue to push for a leveller and Smith reacted just before the hour mark by bringing on Jota for Trezeguet before Eriksen was summoned.
It produced a huge roar from the home fans inside the stadium with the Dane coming on for Winks with 26 to go.
Now Eriksen was on, could he inspire a comeback? He immediately looked to send Kane away, which Heaton read well, but his headed clearance came for Lamela, who saw an ambitious and weak long-range effort stopped on the line by Mings.
Another opportunity fell the way of the Denmark captain with 68 on the clock, but he proceeded to drag his effort wide from 20-yards after Kane's centre.
Tottenham had few options on the bench and it was a case of doing their best with what they had on the pitch.
Fortunately for Pochettino one of the players he chased for so long eventually came up trumps with 17 minutes left.
Eriksen made the immediate difference, producing a superb cross for Sanchez, which looked to be heading in only for Heaton to make a remarkable save.
Kane kept the loose ball alive and Ndombele, in space, received a pass 22-yards-out and made no mistake, curling sumptuously into the corner.
It was the type of goal you hope for after spending £63 million on a midfielder, but maybe not on his debut.
Tottenham were not satisfied with one, however, and Eriksen almost made it 2-1 with 78 on the clock from a central free kick, but his strike was brilliantly parried wide by Heaton, who was having a blinder in the capital.
Another VAR check was required minutes after the goal after Alderweireld's shot hit the hand of substitute Jonathan Kodija, yet it was not overturned.
The noise inside the stadium was deafening now as the Lilywhites searched for a second and eventually the pressure told on Villa.
It was a real stroke of luck for the hosts, but also some sloppiness from the visitors as Grealish lost possession and Lamela tried his luck from outside the area.
While his off-target shot in the 86th minute hit Mings, it rebounded off fellow centre back Bjorn Engels and dropped for Kane, who took a touch to compose himself and drilled beyond Heaton from close range.
It was the academy graduate's first goal at the new ground and one to savour given the situation Spurs were in.
Eventually the pace of the game and Tottenham's determination had broken Villa and Kane was not content with just one goal.
A second for him and Spurs' third arrived in stoppage time when Sissoko passed into his path and the forward curled into the bottom corner from 18-yards.
Kane was up and running and so were Tottenham as despite a difficult first half, they fought back and showed their class with a strong second 45.
The introduction of Eriksen helped a lot and Ndombele's influence grew in the game to give Pochettino plenty of positives and also some areas of concern ahead of the trip to Manchester City next weekend.
At least for now, the Lilywhites can reflect on job done from the opening matchday in this season's Premier League.
Tottenham Hotspur, Lloris (C); Walker-Peters, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Rose; Winks (Eriksen 64); Sissoko, Ndombele (Skipp 90); Lamela (Nkoudou 87); Lucas, Kane.
Unused substitutes: Gazzaniga, Aurier, Dier, Wanyama.
Aston Villa: Heaton; Elmohamady, Engels, Mings, Taylor; Hourihane (Luiz 82), McGinn, Grealish ©; Trezeguet (Jota 59), Wesley (Kodija 74), El Ghazi.
Unused substitutes: Steer, Lansbury, Konsa, Targett.
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