Tottenham Hotspur 1 – 0 Crystal Palace. Harry Kane became the outright second-highest goalscorer in Premier League history as Tottenham ended a four-game winless run with a much-needed victory over Crystal Palace.
Kane, 29, expertly headed in Pedro Porro’s cross in first-half added time to reach 209 goals in the competition and surpass former Manchester United and Everton striker Wayne Rooney.
It proved enough to earn a first victory under interim manager Ryan Mason and move Spurs above Brighton into sixth place – although they have now played three games more than the Seagulls, who face Everton on Monday.
The hosts had gone closest to a breakthrough before Kane’s opener when Cristian Romero’s near-post header cannoned off the crossbar, while at the opposite end Clement Lenglet produced a superb tackle to halt Jeffrey Schlupp’s progress towards goal.
Sam Johnstone kept Palace in contention with a close-range save to deny Son Heung-min following an excellent pass by Romero inside the final quarter of an hour.
But, with Kane in position to clear a loose ball from his own six-yard box, Roy Hodgson suffered just his second loss in seven games since returning to management, leaving his side 12th.
Both teams were involved in seven-goal thrillers last weekend but with contrasting fortunes. Palace’s deserved 4-3 win over West Ham and Spurs’ loss to Liverpool by the same score were indicative of their respective late-season trajectories.
While Hodgson has efficiently guided Palace to near-certain safety since the 75-year-old returned to management in March, Spurs’ bid for a top-four finish has faltered amid a run of one win in seven league games.
Despite an admirable fightback from 3-0 down at Anfield before a 94th-minute sucker-punch, interim boss Mason had once again seen his side – league-leaders for goals conceded in the opening 15 minutes of matches – punished for a costly slow start.
But Spurs ensured they would not make the same mistake and a rare clean sheet – their first in the competition since February – provided the foundation for victory over in-form opposition.
Romero’s header represented Spurs’ best opportunity before Kane drifted the ball out to Porro and then met the wing-back’s cross at the far post for his 26th league goal of the season with the final action of the first half.
That is a tally which would have secured the Premier League’s Golden Boot in each of the past four seasons, but instead leaves him nine goals behind Manchester City talisman Erling Haaland this term.
The goal, in which Kane demonstrated both his key role in build-up play and lethal ability inside the penalty area, served as the latest reminder of the England captain’s crucial role in this Spurs side before an expected summer of intense speculation surrounding his future as he enters the final 12 months of his contract.
Although Son was prevented from sealing the points by the outstretched arms of Johnstone, Mason will be pleased with the determination shown by his side to see out the closing stages as Palace were forced to leave empty-handed.
source – BBC