Kane’s dou­ble con­firms place among the elite

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Football - Ja­son Burt CHIEF FOOT­BALL COR­RE­SPON­DENT at Wem­b­ley

Harry Kane craves the Cham­pi­ons League to be his stage, to be his prov­ing ground, to show he is world-class, and he pro­vided more com­pelling ev­i­dence that he is just that as Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur thrillingly de­feated Borus­sia Dort­mund to ban­ish their Wem­b­ley woes and give them­selves an out­stand­ing op­por­tu­nity, al­ready, of pro­gress­ing in Group H.

It may only be the first tie of six but, with Real Madrid also in this group and with Apoel Ni­cosia ex­pected to be the whip­ping boys, the head-to-heads against Dort­mund were al­ways go­ing to be defin­ing.

Af­ter­wards, man­ager Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino was clear on how im­por­tant the re­sult was for his team. “Mas­sive,” he said, adding that it felt like more than just three points to “build the con­fi­dence and trust at Wem­b­ley and the per­cep­tion we can get for the fu­ture”.

Kane scored twice, and cre­ated Spurs’ open­ing goal in an en­ter­tain­ing, open tie, al­though they were for­tu­nate when Dort­mund had a goal ruled out for off­side, which would have made it 2-2. Mo­ments af­ter, Kane scored.

Spurs will be­lieve they were due that luck hav­ing suf­fered at this sta­dium for so long but, even in vic­tory, there was a set­back, with Jan Ver­tonghen shown a sec­ond yel­low card af­ter it was deemed he had caught sub­sti­tute Mario Gotze with a flail­ing arm in the face in in­jury time. He will re­ceive a one-match ban.

This was only Spurs’ sec­ond win in 12 matches at Wem­b­ley and only their third vic­tory in 10 Cham­pi­ons League games. It was an im­por­tant win against one of the big Euro­pean beasts, who se­ri­ally reach the knock­out stages and whose last ap­pear­ance here was in the 2013 fi­nal.

Kane thrived against them. He has now scored 29 goals in 27 matches in all com­pe­ti­tions for Spurs this year and this was the third suc­ces­sive Cham­pi­ons League match in which he has scored. He is get­ting bet­ter and bet­ter and is be­gin­ning to be­long in that rar­efied com­pany of elite strik­ers, im­pos­ing him­self for club and coun­try. Europe is tak­ing no­tice and, when he was sub­sti­tuted late on, he de­parted to a stand­ing ovation.

There was much de­bate af­ter­wards over Spurs’ tac­tics; that they have learnt from bit­ter ex­pe­ri­ence to box a lit­tle bit more clev­erly, to de­fend a lit­tle deeper and strike on the break and, while there was a vari­a­tion in their ap­proach, they were sim­ply not as se­cure as that would sug­gest, al­though Serge Aurier was im­pres­sive on his de­but at right wing-back.

Dort­mund, de­pleted by in­jury, were dan­ger­ous through­out and there was an out­stand­ing save from Hugo Lloris to deny Pierre-em­er­ick Aubameyang af­ter he met a flicke­don cor­ner at close range.

Aubameyang was again de­nied a goal when he slammed a crisp halfvol­ley around Lloris only for the striker to have – wrongly – been deemed off­side. Be­fore that, Dort­mund had an­other ef­fort ruled out af­ter the ball was turned in by Chris­tian Pulisic with Aubameyang, in an off­side po­si­tion, also at­tempt­ing to score.

But that should not de­tract from Spurs’ per­for­mance and par­tic­u­larly the con­tri­bu­tion of Kane. With Dele Alli serv­ing the first game of a three-match ban, im­posed for his dis­missal in the dis­mal Europa League exit last sea­son to Gent, even more re­spon­si­bil­ity fell on his fel­low Eng­land in­ter­na­tional.

Kane seized it. In fact, he did not so much seize it as glee­fully grab hold of it and refuse to let go. For all of Dort­mund’s dom­i­nance of pos­ses­sion – 67 per cent over the game – Kane al­ways pro­vided the great­est threat.

When­ever he had the ball there was dan­ger and none more so in­side the open­ing four min­utes, when his header found Chris­tian Erik­sen, who re­turned pos­ses­sion for Kane to slide a clever pass through for Alli’s re­place­ment He­ung-min Son.

Son surged down the left with Sokratis Pa­pas­tathopou­los woe­fully slow to cover and struck a left­foot shot, catch­ing out goal­keeper Ro­man Burki, who stuck out an arm but was far too eas­ily beaten at his near post.

But it was a short-lived ad­van­tage. An­driy Yar­molenko, ac­quired as Ous­mane Dem­bele’s re­place­ment af­ter the French in­ter­na­tional’s ex­tra­or­di­nary near-£100 mil­lion move to Barcelona, made his mark.

Dort­mund pushed for­ward, with Yar­molenko cut­ting in from the right and play­ing the ball to Shinji Ka­gawa. He turned it back to the Ukrainian, whose su­perb first-time shot arced high be­yond Lloris and into the net for his first goal for his new club.

It ap­peared omi­nous. How would Spurs re­spond? They did by re­tak­ing the lead, a goal that owed ev­ery­thing to Kane’s strength and de­ter­mi­na­tion as he held off one chal­lenge and then an­other, brush­ing aside Pa­pas­tathopou­los, to work his way down the left be­fore strik­ing a left-foot shot which, again, squeezed just in­side the near post. Once more Burki ap­peared at fault, hav­ing failed to close down the space, show­ing far too great a cor­ri­dor for Kane to shoot into.

De­spite the protes­ta­tions of Dort­mund coach Peter Bosz, who ar­gued ve­he­mently that Kane had fouled his cap­tain dur­ing his run, the goal stood.

Dort­mund cre­ated more chances and there were last-ditch in­ter­ven­tions from Ver­tonghen and Ben Davies, with Pulisic and Aubameyang threat­en­ing, be­fore Spurs stead­ied them­selves and fash­ioned op­por­tu­ni­ties of their own. Kane and Son both skied over and then, af­ter Dort­mund had that goal wrongly ruled out, there was a fine at­tack­ing move in­volv­ing Mousa Dem­bele, who played the ball into Davies. His first-time pass found Erik­sen, who turned the ball wide to Kane, and he drove a low shot back across goal, clip­ping off Lukasz Piszczek as the de­fender at­tempted to block to beat Burki.

Soon af­ter and Kane de­parted – re­placed by Fer­nando Llorente, mak­ing his de­but – to a stand­ing ovation. It was cer­tainly de­served. This was Spurs’ night and Harry had lifted the hoodoo.

Seal­ing the deal: Harry Kane lashes in the third Tot­ten­ham goal

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