Belfast Telegraph

Spurs ease to emphatic victory to spare Kane's blushes

Southampton 1 Spurs 4

By Rory Dollard

Dele Alli's double spared Harry Kane's blushes as the midfielder helped Tottenham to an emphatic 4-1 win against 10-man Southampton. Kane scored one but missed a penalty at St Mary's as two goals from Alli and another from substitute Son Heung-min sealed an impressive victory for Spurs.

Virgil van Dijk had earlier put Saints ahead within 73 seconds but Tottenham came back to lead after two headers from Kane and Alli.

Nathan Redmond was then sent off just before the hour by referee Mike Dean for denying Alli a goalscoring opportunity only for Kane to blaze the spot-kick over the bar.

The miss proved inconsequential, however, as substitute Son and then Alli sealed the win, which sends Tottenham back to within a point of Arsenal in fourth.

Kane said: "Southampton is a tough game for any team and we have come here and scored four in a comfortable win in the end.

"People had been talking, saying that I hadn't scored for one or two games but that's the position I am in. I was thankful to score today. The ground gave way under me for the penalty, I had seen before the game that there was a new square of turf and it just gave way."

Saints broke the deadlock inside two minutes after Victor Wanyama conceded a foul for a tug of the shirt. James Ward-Prowse whipped in the free-kick and an unmarked Van Dijk nodded his side in front.

Tottenham were patient and precise and in the 19th minute, it paid dividends.

Dembele slid Moussa Sissoko in down the left and as the Frenchman's cross span up off Redmond, Alli reacted fastest, his glancing header nestling in the top right-hand corner.

The visitors' ascendancy continued after the interval and in the 52nd minute, Kane nipped in front of Romeu and headed in Eriksen's corner for his 10th goal of the season.

There was more drama to come before the hour. On a lightning fast break, Sissoko played Alli through on goal and while the midfielder fired wide, referee Dean judged his finish to have been spoiled by a Redmond push in the back.

Dean awarded the penalty, though replays suggest the offence may have started outside the area, before compounding Southampton's misery by issuing Redmond a red card.

Either way, Kane failed to take advantage. The striker skied his penalty high and over the bar, before prodding the turf with his toe in disbelief.

Spurs, however, were dominant with the extra man and almost put the result beyond doubt when Eriksen crashed a shot against the crossbar.

Southampton could have snatched a late equaliser when Hugo Lloris' skewed clearance fell at the feet of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg but the substitute scuffed his finish.

Instead, it was another substitute, Son, who secured Tottenham all three points as he drilled the ball into the far corner after Eriksen's through ball. Alli then added his second and Spurs' fourth when he curled the ball past Fraser Forster to cap a satisfying end to Tottenham's 2016.

Southampton: Forster, Soares, Fonte, Van Dijk, Bertrand, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Davis (Højbjerg 72), Redmond, Rodriguez (Long 72), Boufal (Tadic 72)

Goals: Van Dijk 2

Subs not used: Yoshida, Martina, Reed, Taylor.

Spurs: Lloris, Walker, Dier, Vertonghen, Rose, Dembélé (Winks 82), Wanyama, Sissoko (Son 74), Alli, Eriksen, Kane (Janssen 89). Goals: Alli 19, 87, Kane 52, Son 85

Subs not used: Vorm, Nkoudou, Wimmer, Davies.

Man of the match: Alli

Match rating: 8/10

Referee: Mike Dean

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