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Kane glad to fire back as Spurs boost top-four bid

Tottenham 2 Watford 0


All smiles: Harry Kane celebrates his strike

All smiles: Harry Kane celebrates his strike

Getty Images

All smiles: Harry Kane celebrates his strike

Harry Kane did his talking on the pitch as Tottenham reasserted themselves in the race for the Champions League with a 2-0 win over Watford.

Kane was mocked by the FA Cup's official Twitter feed last week following Manchester United's semi-final win, something boss Mauricio Pochettino called "embarrassing", and the England striker responded the only way he knows how by firing in his 27th league goal of the season.

Kane scored three minutes after the break, following Dele Alli's first-half opener, to give onlooking England boss Gareth Southgate plenty to smile about and also strengthen his side's top-four aspirations.

Fifth-placed Chelsea had whittled down a 10-point deficit to just two but Spurs took that back to five with three games remaining.

For Watford, the end of the season cannot come quickly enough as they are now winless in seven and still not mathematically safe, sitting six points clear of the drop zone.

Kane said: "It was okay, but obviously important we won. We could have played better in the first half, could have moved it a bit quicker and we were lucky to be ahead thanks to Hugo (Lloris).

"In the second half we played a bit better but still could have played it quicker. But we needed to win to ease the pressure and we did that.

"It feels like ages since we last played - eight days. Our form has not been the best and when that happens you want to play. We had to wait.

"We started a bit slowly but we won which is what we're happy about. Three games left, we win them all hopefully and then we're up to third."

Any nerves Spurs might have had were settled when they took a 16th-minute lead, though they had Watford goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis to thank for the opener.

The Greece international inexplicably dropped a routine cross from Kieran Trippier, allowing Christian Eriksen to tee up Alli.

It was his fifth goal in the last eight games as he continues to respond well to being overlooked by Southgate during the last international break.

That should have been the platform for the hosts to kick on, but they were reliant on goalkeeper Lloris.

The Frenchman first got down well to deny Andre Gray after sloppy play by Eric Dier and then superbly kept out Richarlison's low shot.

Half-time proved the tonic Tottenham needed and they assumed a tighter grip on the game just three minutes after the restart.

Kane was primed to tap in Son Heung-min's cross but lost his footing at the vital moment, only to get back on his feet and turn home Trippier's centre.

The goal took him to within four of Golden Boot frontrunner Mohamed Salah and that should have gone to three, but only he will know how he did not convert into an empty net from a yard out after Jan Vertonghen's header hit the post.

Kane did find the back of the net again, though he had strayed offside.

Tottenham: Lloris, Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier, Dembele (Wanyama 63), Eriksen, Alli (Lamela 82), Son (Sissoko 74), Kane.

Goals: Alli 16, Kane 48

Subs not used: Alderweireld, Vorm, Aurier, Lucas Moura.

Watford: Karnezis, Mariappa, Cathcart, Kabasele, Holebas, Capoue, Doucoure, Femenia (Deulofeu 64), Hughes (Carrillo 83), Richarlison, Gray (Deeney 64).

Subs not used: Gomes, Janmaat, Britos, Sinclair.

Belfast Telegraph