Kane turns provider for four-goal Son to serve up ap­petis­ing Bale wel­come

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Total Football - By Jim White at St Mary’s

Ings 32, 90 pen

Son 45+2, 47, 64, 73, Kane 82

Watch­ing this in the bar of his lo­cal golf club, Gareth Bale must have been sali­vat­ing at the thought of what will hap­pen when he over­comes his knee in­jury and gets to play reg­u­larly with Harry Kane. Not so much for the op­por­tu­nity to ad­mire the Eng­land cap­tain’s fin­ish­ing from close quar­ters. But at the prospect of the passes he might con­vert.

Be­cause this match proved Kane to be not just a fine fin­isher but the king of providers. As well as scor­ing his 10th goal in 10 suc­ces­sive league matches against Southamp­ton, he de­liv­ered no fewer than four as­sists for his ef­fer­ves­cent strike part­ner Son He­ung-min. The idea of Bale link­ing up with those two on this sort of form will have sent a shiver of ter­ror down the spines of Premier League ri­vals. Surely even Jose Mour­inho could not stop them be­com­ing among the most dev­as­tat­ing front threes in Europe.

“Fin­ish­ing is prob­a­bly what I say is my main skill and it was not even dif­fi­cult fin­ish­ing be­cause Harry’s pass­ing was in­cred­i­ble,” said a de­lighted Son, clutch­ing the match ball af­ter the game. “I’m very happy Harry Kane scored. When you make an in­cred­i­ble game with four as­sists, he’s one of the best strik­ers in the world, he’s hun­gry.”

What a wel­come note the pair of­fered their new sign­ing. From the mo­ment Son equalised, af­ter Danny Ings’s smart opener, just be­fore halfThe time, the two of them were ir­re­press­ible in at­tack: quick-wit­ted, pow­er­ful, ruth­less. Ev­ery chance that dropped their way was dis­patched with aplomb. You can only won­der what the score­line might have been had the en­tire Spurs team wo­ken up 45 min­utes ear­lier.

The vis­i­tors, who had been dis­rupted by a fire alarm in their ho­tel at 4.45am, were rot­ten for much of the open­ing pe­riod. With Dele Alli again not even mak­ing the bench, they looked leaden of feet and ideas. De­spite Kane putting the ball in the net af­ter three min­utes (it was ruled out for off­side by Var) they were quickly on the back foot.

With a gap the size of Hamp­shire be­tween Spurs’s front line and their mid­field, Southamp­ton were able al­most at will to pass in be­hind their de­fence.

First Che Adams played in Ings, who rounded Hugo Lloris and put the ball away, only for the lines­man to no­tice he had con­trolled the ball with his hand in the build-up. He made no such er­ror when a pass from Kyle Walker-Peters, floated over Eric Dier, found him once more run­ning be­yond Spurs’s last de­fender. The for­ward ca­ressed the ball with one touch be­fore fir­ing past Lloris. It was a mas­ter­ful fin­ish, but the de­fend­ing was woe­ful.

For­tu­nately for Spurs, where there is Kane there is hope. With half-time ap­proach­ing, and af­ter Lloris was re­quired to make a world­class save to deny Adams, Tan­guy Ndombele won the ball and drove for­ward. He then passed crisply to Kane, who in turn per­fectly fed Son. As the ball arced across the area in front of him, the Southamp­ton goal­keeper Alex McCarthy started to come out, then changed his mind, leav­ing Son with the space to bend a shot into the cor­ner of the goal.

It was to prove Ndombele’s last con­tri­bu­tion. He was taken off at half-time, re­placed by Gio­vani Lo Celso. The Ar­gen­tine’s first of­fer­ing, mo­ments af­ter the restart, was to thread the ball through to Kane, who turned and set Son away. The South Korean does not need more than the mer­est sniff of a chance and he slot­ted past McCarthy.

From there, Southamp­ton heads seemed to sink. “If we make it that easy for them, they have so much qual­ity they can score. We were naive,” ad­mit­ted home man­ager Ralph Hasen­huttl.

Son com­pleted his hat-trick when he was played in be­hind once more by Kane, who had been given too much time in front of a hes­i­tant back four. Su­perbly and con­fi­dently, he put the ball be­tween McCarthy’s legs. Kane’s fourth as­sist for his strike part­ner came nine min­utes later with a won­der­ful bend­ing pass that Son con­trolled on his chest be­fore smack­ing a shot be­yond McCarthy. It was the first time in se­nior foot­ball he had scored four.

Kane then fi­nally got the goal he de­served, tap­ping home af­ter Lo Celso had carved up an­other open­ing. Ings’s penalty, awarded af­ter an­other Var in­ter­ven­tion, pro­vided the flat­test of late con­so­la­tions.

Much as Kane and Son were the head­line act, a note should be made of the part played by Mour­inho. His de­ci­sion to re­place Ndombele with Lo Celso at half-time was sig­nif­i­cant. Com­bin­ing well with Harry Winks, Lo Celso’s buzz and en­ergy brought much-needed thrust to the Spurs mid­field. They looked a side trans­formed. And that is be­fore Bale even pulls on the white shirt.

Harry Kane drifts left and hits a first-time pass to Son He­ung-min, who fin­ishes

Kane collects pos­ses­sion with his back to goal and plays in Son, cut­ting in­side

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