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Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Leicester City: Son Heung-min & Harry Kane clinch victory

By Jonathan JurejkoBBC Sport
Son Heung-min scores Tottenham's third against Leicester
Son Heung-min has scored a career-high 19 goals in the Premier League this season, with only Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (22) having netted more

Tottenham manager Antonio Conte says "nobody could have imagined" his team would still be in the race for Champions League qualification when he arrived in November.

Son Heung-min scored twice and Harry Kane rediscovered his touch in front of goal as Spurs beat Leicester to boost their hopes of a top-four Premier League finish.

Tottenham moved briefly into fourth place with the win, but neighbours Arsenal regained the spot by beating West Ham later on Sunday.

"It was vital to get three points. There was a lot of pressure but I told my players to enjoy this moment because we deserved it after really great work that we did in these six months," said Conte, who joined Spurs after they sacked Nuno Espirito Santo.

"No-one could have imagined when I arrived in November we could be in this race still, but these players are deserving to fight for such an important place. It is not easy to qualify for the Champions League in England."

England captain Kane, goalless in his previous five Spurs games, headed in the opener from Son's corner.

Son stroked in the second after being picked out by Dejan Kulusevski, then curled in a sensational third for his 19th league goal of the season.

Leicester's Kelechi Iheanacho scored a consolation with a crisp strike.

"It was a great, great afternoon, a great match and a great performance from the team. We totally deserved it," said Son, who trails Liverpool's Mohamed Salah by three goals in the race to finish as the Premier League's top scorer this season.

"Winning the Golden Boot is not important for me. Scoring goals is really good but you can't score alone. You need the team.

"If I get the chances, then I will try to score. We want to finish in the Champions League and I want to play in the Champions League."

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers made eight changes to his starting XI, with the game coming in the middle of their two-legged Europa Conference League semi-final against Roma.

The Foxes remain 11th in the Premier League table, meaning winning Europe's third club competition seems their only realistic route into continental action next season.

Attacking trio help Spurs rediscover their groove

With upcoming matches against title-chasing Liverpool and top-four rivals Arsenal, Tottenham knew the importance of returning to winning ways against a Leicester side with more pressing priorities this week.

Spurs had not won either their two previous matches, punished for a sluggish display in a home defeat by Brighton and unable to break down a stubborn Brentford last weekend.

What was most startling about those performances, considering the amount of attacking talent at their disposal, was Spurs' inability to record a shot on target in either game.

But Conte's side led at half-time at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with their only effort on target, then rediscovered their attacking verve after the break.

Their trusted combination up front delivered for the first when Son clipped a corner towards the near post, where Kane had escaped his marker Daniel Amartey to power in.

"We scored early in the first half and that changed the game - we knew we'd have more space in the second half," said Son.

Harry Kane heads in Tottenham's opening goal against Leicester
Harry Kane has scored 19 goals in 18 games against Leicester in all competitions - more than against any other side

The start of the second half was also tight before Son - helped by the running and guile of Kulusevski, introduced as a substitute after surprisingly being left on the bench - ensured there was no way back for Leicester.

Tottenham's reinvigoration in front of goal particularly pleased Conte, who took over from former Wolves boss Nuno with Spurs eighth in the table.

"I think we were more clinical in this game. There was space for us and we exploited it very well. That was the key," said the ex-Chelsea, Juventus and Italy manager.

Tottenham 3-1 Leicester: Antonio Conte praises Son Heung-Min for 'fantastic' goal

Cheap goals again prove costly for Leicester

While Leicester's main focus is on reaching a first European final, Foxes manager Rodgers insisted his much-changed side would not be distracted from their task at Tottenham.

The visitors' rejigged line-up made a confident start. Forward Ayoze Perez forced Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris into a smart stop shortly before Patson Daka thumped the post, then a dangerous cross from Marc Albrighton needed a swift intervention from Cristian Romero with Perez waiting.

But it was the old failing of defending corners which came back to damage Leicester.

"Defending corners has been a problem for us all season - we lack aggression and cuteness. It was so disappointing," said Rodgers.

"It is something we will have to look at in the summer through personnel. The mentality to head the ball is missing; it's something we would need to address."

Rodgers was also left cursing Caglar Soyuncu's inability to win a loose ball against Romero, which allowed Kulusevski to set up Son for Spurs' pivotal second.

"We got the game back again and started the second half with confidence. We missed a challenge we cannot miss and they end up getting the goal from that. The challenge is in our favour, we have to win it," said the Leicester manager.

"The players kept fighting and the spirit was there. We kept fighting until the end. It is frustrating because of the nature of the game and there were lots of pleasing things.

"But you can't give away cheap goals."

Tottenham 3-1 Leicester: Brendan Rodgers says Leicester gave away 'cheap goals'

Line-ups

Tottenham

Formation 3-4-3

  • 1Lloris
  • 4Romero
  • 15Dier
  • 33DaviesBooked at 26mins
  • 12Emerson Royal
  • 30BentancurBooked at 58minsSubstituted forWinksat 82'minutes
  • 5Højbjerg
  • 19R Sessegnon
  • 27Lucas MouraSubstituted forKulusevskiat 55'minutes
  • 10Kane
  • 7Son Heung-MinSubstituted forBergwijnat 82'minutes

Substitutes

  • 6D Sánchez
  • 8Winks
  • 14Rodon
  • 21Kulusevski
  • 22Gollini
  • 23Bergwijn
  • 42White
  • 44Scarlett
  • 51Craig

Leicester

Formation 3-5-2

  • 1Schmeichel
  • 27Castagne
  • 18AmarteyBooked at 63mins
  • 4Söyüncü
  • 11AlbrightonBooked at 48mins
  • 42SoumaréSubstituted forBruntat 67'minutes
  • 24Mendy
  • 17PérezSubstituted forTielemansat 76'minutes
  • 33ThomasBooked at 66mins
  • 14Iheanacho
  • 29DakaSubstituted forVardyat 67'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Justin
  • 3Fofana
  • 7Barnes
  • 8Tielemans
  • 9Vardy
  • 12Ward
  • 20Choudhury
  • 37Lookman
  • 62Brunt
Referee:
Jonathan Moss
Attendance:
59,482

Match Stats

Home TeamTottenhamAway TeamLeicester
Possession
Home39%
Away61%
Shots
Home13
Away6
Shots on Target
Home7
Away2
Corners
Home7
Away3
Fouls
Home13
Away8

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Tottenham Hotspur 3, Leicester City 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Tottenham Hotspur 3, Leicester City 1.

  3. Post update

    Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Daniel Amartey.

  4. Post update

    Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Ben Davies (Tottenham Hotspur).

  6. Post update

    Attempt missed. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.

  7. Goal!

    Goal! Tottenham Hotspur 3, Leicester City 1. Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City) left footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Youri Tielemans.

  8. Post update

    Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Cristian Romero (Tottenham Hotspur).

  10. Post update

    Attempt missed. Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Timothy Castagne with a cross.

  11. Post update

    Nampalys Mendy (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Steven Bergwijn (Tottenham Hotspur).

  13. Substitution

    Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Steven Bergwijn replaces Son Heung-Min.

  14. Substitution

    Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Harry Winks replaces Rodrigo Bentancur.

  15. Goal!

    Goal! Tottenham Hotspur 3, Leicester City 0. Son Heung-Min (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from outside the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Dejan Kulusevski.

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Leicester City. Youri Tielemans replaces Ayoze Pérez.

  17. Post update

    Attempt saved. Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Son Heung-Min with a cross.

  18. Post update

    Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Timothy Castagne.

  19. Post update

    Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Cristian Romero.

  20. Substitution

    Substitution, Leicester City. Lewis Brunt replaces Boubakary Soumaré.

Player of the match

Son Heung-MinSon Heung-Min

with an average of 8.05

Tottenham Hotspur

  1. Squad number7Player nameSon Heung-Min
    Average rating

    8.05

  2. Squad number21Player nameKulusevski
    Average rating

    8.01

  3. Squad number10Player nameKane
    Average rating

    7.35

  4. Squad number4Player nameRomero
    Average rating

    6.99

  5. Squad number23Player nameBergwijn
    Average rating

    6.75

  6. Squad number15Player nameDier
    Average rating

    6.74

  7. Squad number30Player nameBentancur
    Average rating

    6.65

  8. Squad number27Player nameLucas Moura
    Average rating

    6.60

  9. Squad number33Player nameDavies
    Average rating

    6.57

  10. Squad number1Player nameLloris
    Average rating

    6.39

  11. Squad number19Player nameRyan Sessegnon
    Average rating

    6.28

  12. Squad number8Player nameWinks
    Average rating

    5.95

  13. Squad number12Player nameEmerson Royal
    Average rating

    5.62

  14. Squad number5Player nameHøjbjerg
    Average rating

    5.41

Leicester City

  1. Squad number1Player nameSchmeichel
    Average rating

    5.33

  2. Squad number14Player nameIheanacho
    Average rating

    5.32

  3. Squad number29Player nameDaka
    Average rating

    5.17

  4. Squad number11Player nameAlbrighton
    Average rating

    5.11

  5. Squad number24Player nameMendy
    Average rating

    5.00

  6. Squad number17Player nameAyoze Pérez
    Average rating

    4.99

  7. Squad number33Player nameThomas
    Average rating

    4.98

  8. Squad number27Player nameCastagne
    Average rating

    4.88

  9. Squad number42Player nameSoumaré
    Average rating

    4.82

  10. Squad number4Player nameSöyüncü
    Average rating

    4.73

  11. Squad number18Player nameAmartey
    Average rating

    4.73

  12. Squad number9Player nameVardy
    Average rating

    4.51

  13. Squad number8Player nameTielemans
    Average rating

    4.43

  14. Squad number62Player nameBrunt
    Average rating

    4.19

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