Kane's double downs PSV to keep Spurs' euro ambitions alive
Tottenham 2 PSV Eindhoven 1
A double deflection it may have required, but Harry Kane’s header a minute from time has given Spurs the lifeline they needed to keep their Champions League hopes alive.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men were staring down the barrel for most of the evening at Wembley, having trailed after barely a minute and not managing to draw level until the 78th minute – Kane the inevitable scorer once again.
But one more Ben Davies surge down the left flank – and he worked tirelessly all night – ended with the cross that the Tottenham skipper managed to put away.
It still leaves Spurs a long way from qualification for the knock-out stages. They must beat Inter in their next match at Wembley and, in all probability, may need to take all three points in their final group match in Barcelona. A slim chance it may be, but it is in their own hands.
Spurs found themselves chasing the game as latecomers were still taking their seats, to continue the woes they have encountered in this year’s competition.
Gaston Pereiro’s inswinging corner found the head of Luuk de Jong just outside the six-yard box, with Toby Alderweireld unable to get close enough to prevent the PSV skipper from powering home.
De Jong’s late equaliser when the sides drew 2-2 in Eindhoven a fortnight ago, cast another shadow over this season’s faltering campaign, making qualification for the knock-out stages so much more complicated. His goal this time made the mountain climb even more daunting.
Frustration for Spurs and also for Paulo Gazzaniga – given the nod over Michel Worm for a first Champions League appearance of the season because of the suspension dished out to Hugo Lloris for his red card in Eindhoven.
The home response was strong and immediate, with Dele Alli having a back-flick cleared off the line and Christian Eriksen curling just wide.
Eriksen and Alli then combined in another rapid attack which ended with Jeroen Zoet making saves to deny both players in quick succession.
A superb pass from deep by Harry Winks should also have been rewarded, but Alli failed to make the most of what was a glorious opportunity – hitting a tame shot on the turn after getting the ball stuck under his feet.
Spurs initially struggled to recapture their first half dominance after the break, and they almost shipped a second goal when Steven Bergwijn fired over after a neat interchange with the always-menacing Hirving Lozano. Pereiro also had Gazzaniga scrambling to keep out a header.
But Tottenham recovered their poise and began exerting pressure again. Erik Lamela and Fernando Llorente came on.
Harry Kane worked some space to whip a low left foot shot into the legs of Zoet – but found the net moments later after Llorente had touched the ball down for the talismanic Spurs striker to lash home.
Gazzaniga kept Spurs alive by tipping over a rising shot from sub Donyell Malen in a rare breakaway but it was the home side looking the likelier winner. Llorente headed a Winks cross straight at the keeper. Luckily for Spurs, it was not to be their last chance.
Line-up: Gazzaniga – Aurier (Trippier 75), Alderweireld, Sanchez, Davies – Winks, Alli, Eriksen – Lucas (Lamela 62), Kane, Son (Llorente 75). Subs not used: Worm, Walker-Peters, Sissoko, Skipp