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Harry Kane focus in the Champions League final

The England captain started the Champions League final for Tottenham.

Harry Kane returned from a nine-game injury lay-off to start in the Champions League final (Mike Egerton/PA)
Harry Kane returned from a nine-game injury lay-off to start in the Champions League final (Mike Egerton/PA)

Harry Kane won his fitness race to go straight back into Tottenham’s starting line-up against Liverpool in the Champions League final.

The England captain, who missed Spurs’ previous nine games due to ankle ligament damage, replaced semi-final hat-trick hero Lucas Moura.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a closer look at Kane’s performance in his side’s 2-0 defeat.

Early impact

Kane was a peripheral figure for the whole of the first half. Out-muscled in a couple of early duels by Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk, he struggled to work himself into the game as Tottenham offered little threat in the final third. His best moment in the opening 45 minutes was a clearing header from a Liverpool corner. He was more involved in the second period and tidy in possession, but that was never in threatening positions.

Movement

The centre-forward had little chance to shine, but on the few occasions Tottenham did carry the ball into the danger areas, his movement appeared stunted, lacking the incisiveness with which Spurs’ fans are accustomed. He was slightly more involved in the second half, but failed to flourish in a disappointing all-round Tottenham display.

Attacking threat

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Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk was never troubled by the England striker at the Metropolitano Stadium (Martin Rickett/PA)

Kane was comfortably dealt with by both Van Dijk and central defensive partner Joel Matip, but in fairness he lacked support from Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen and Son Heung-min. When Tottenham enjoyed their better moments in the second half he was neat enough with the ball at his feet. A tumble in the box after going down under Matip’s challenge late in the game did not move Slovenian referee Damir Skomina.

Overall

Kane had been sidelined since the first leg of Tottenham’s Champions League quarter-final against Manchester City in early April and it was a big ask to expect him to hit the ground running in a game of this magnitude. He did not look sharp. In a disappointing final in which neither side replicated the form they had shown in their respective semi-finals, Kane failed to have a single effort on goal until firing straight at Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson in the closing stages.

PA

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