Spurs icon Bale blasts hat-trick blunting relegated Blades 4-0
By Alessandro Schiavone at The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Gareth Bale scored a hat-trick as Tottenham Hotspur crushed already-relegated Sheffield United 4-0 at home to put their Carabao Cup final heartbreak behind them and keep their slim hopes of a Premier League top-four finish alive.
Bale put Spurs ahead after 36 minutes when he dinked the ball over Aaron Ramsdale after Serge Aurier had delicately picked him out with a well-executed through ball between the lines.
The four-time Champions League winner rolled back the years and scored again on the 60 minutes when he found the top right-hand corner with a thumping finish after Son Heung-Min had set him through on goal with an incisive pass into space.
The unflappable talisman then completed his first hat-trick since returning to the club eight months ago with a well-placed shot beyond the outstretched Ramsdale from the edge of the area.
Before, Son Heung-Min rounded off a memorable night with a brilliant curling effort in off the post as caretaker manager Ryan Mason’s 100 per cent win percentage in the league continues.
The Blades could have raced into a shock lead after seven minutes when David McGoldrick intercepted a sloppy pass from Eric Dier but saw his tame effort go wide.
Five minutes later, Harry Kane dropped deep to showcase his playmaking vision and picked out Bale but the Welshman skied his effort from outside the penalty area after cutting inside on his favoured left foot.
In the 16th minute, Son drew a world-class save from Ramsdale after former PSG right-back Aurier had caught a Sheffield player in possession and set him up.
Kane then saw his powerful effort blocked on the line by Chris Basham before the England skipper fluffed his lines again from the edge of the box after Sergio Reguillon, who nutmegged his opposite number, had picked him out with an excellent delivery.
Yet the missed chances did not discourage the hosts as they finally broke the deadlock when Bale flicked the ball over Ramsdale in the 36th minute with the Welshman scorng for the first time in consecutive league games in his second spell in north London.
In the second-half, Mason’s men picked up where they had left off as Dele Alli saw his curling effort comfortably saved by Ramsdale before Son had a goal disallowed by VAR in the 50th minute. Tottenham continued to take the game to Sheffield and fashioned gilt-edged chances to slice the visitors’ defence open courtesy of an enviable blend of pace, penetration and power in the final third.
Tottenham finally had the second goal their performance warranted when Bale scored again with a predatory finish into the top right-hand corner after a sublime assist from South Korean Son as Sheffield United, who resisted up to that point, began to collapse like a house of cards.
World Cup winner and skipper Hugo Lloris , who had a relatively quiet evening, was called into action for the first time in the 65th minute, but Oliver Norwood spurned a chance to pull one back when he sent his shot straight at him after a cutback down the right flank.
Bale knew he could keep and flaunt the match ball after the final whistle when he rubbed further salt into Sheffield’s bleeding wounds as he finished off a superb Tottenham move with a composed and emphatic low drive beyond Ramsdale.
With 13 minutes to go, Son then sent a curling effort in off the post from 18 yards after being teed up by former PSV star Steven Bergwijn.
In the 86th minute, Kane missed the target from close range with Sheffield’s goalkeeper already beaten but the offside flag spared his blushes.
Another chance to extend the lead went begging through Reguillon, who went close to finally breaking his Spurs duck had it not been for his poor finish inside the area.
Bale rose to worldwide fame after sensationally inflicting three goals to then reigning Treble winners Inter Milan in October 2010.
As fate has had it, advertently or not, he picked the day Inter Milan were crowned champions of Italy for the first time in 11 years to score another, memorable hat-trick.
Tottenham Hotspur 4-2-3-1
1 Hugo Lloris- 24 Serge Aurier- 4 Toby Alderweireld 15 Eric Dier- 3 Sergio Reguilon- 5 Pierre Emile Hoejbjerg- 18 Giovani Lo Celso- 9 Gareth Bale- 20 Dele Alli- 7 Heung-Min Son- 10 Harry Kane
Sheffield United 3-4-1-2
1 Aaron Ramsdale- 6 Chris Basham- 12 John Egan- 2 George Baldock- 3 Enda Stevens- 4 John Fleck- 16 Oliver Norwood- 20 Jayden Bogle- 23 Ben Osborn- 17 David McGoldrick- 24 Rhian Brewster