LEICESTER: Harry Kane staked his claim to finish as the Premier League’s top scorer with a scintillating four-goal blast as Tottenham Hotspur thrashed Leicester City 6-1 on Thursday, ensuring Mauricio Pochettino’s runners-up close out the season with a swagger despite missing out on the title.
The match was a effectively a dead rubber with Spurs already assured of finishing second behind champions Chelsea but Kane produced a superb individual performance to go top of the scoring chart as in-form Son Heung-Min also scored twice after Leicester’s Ben Chilwell briefly reduced the deficit in the second half.
Having taken his tally to 26 league goals to move above Everton’s Romelu Lukaku (24) and Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez (23), England striker Kane vowed there would be no let-up in the final game of the season when Spurs visit relegated Hull City. Despite missing three months of the season through injury, Kane has netted 32 times in all competitions.
“It’s the first time I’ve scored four goals and it was a good moment to do it,” Kane told Sky Sports after firing Spurs ahead and rifling in a second half hat-trick. “I wanted to get one or two goals at least and take it [the battle for the Golden Boot] to the final game.
“I am in the driving seat but there’s still one more game. I am not resting on my laurels but I hope to get four more. Hopefully I can get the Golden Boot and hopefully [Tottenham goalkeeper] Hugo Lloris can get the Golden Glove [for the most clean sheets].”
Spurs manager Pochettino said he has no concerns about holding on to Kane during the summer transfer window.
“He is great, he is one of the best strikers in the world,” said the Argentine. “He will try to keep going in the next game and try to finish in the best way.
“We will keep the players that we want to keep. Maybe we will sell the players that we want to sell. I think we are so, so, so calm about our big players and they are so happy here. We are building a very exciting project.”
Tottenham now have more points than Leicester won the league with last season, but if Pochettino’s players were frustrated at falling short in the title race, they haven’t let it show.
Kane’s 25th-minute opener opener was set up by Son, who became the highest-scoring South Korean in a single European season with 21 goals in all competitions.
Jan Vertonghen’s long pass targeted a penetrating run from Son and, with Leicester caught flat-footed, the South Korean quickly picked out Kane, who arrived on cue to guide a clinical finish past Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel from close-range.
Son made it 2-0 with a first-time shot on the turn in the 36th minute as the visitors dominated the opening half with some crisp passing.
Chilwell pulled one back for Leicester after the break before Kane made it 3-1 with a close-range header and Son curled in the fourth with a neat low shot from 25 metres after some dazzling footwork.
The unstoppable Kane then put the icing on the cake with more clinical finishing in the closing stages, condemning Leicester to their first home defeat after five successive wins as Tottenham celebrated their 11th win in the last 12 games.
Published in Dawn, May 20th, 2017