Kane dou­ble de­stroys Hud­der­s­field

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Sport | Football - By Jonathan Liew

A strange and sur­real som­no­lence swept over the last hour of this match. Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur’s play­ers knocked the ball around with an im­pu­dence verg­ing on in­dif­fer­ence. Hud­der­s­field jogged with­out in­tent, qui­etly and list­lessly serv­ing out their no­tice. The fans basked in what was left of the breezy au­tum­nal sun­shine. An in­jury-time goal from Moussa Sis­soko – yes, Moussa Sis­soko – felt as shrill and abrupt as a phone ring­ing in church.

But Tot­ten­ham had earned their stroll in the park. They had earned their vaguely scruffy sec­ond half, an op­por­tu­nity to pre­serve their limbs and lig­a­ments ahead of an in­ter­na­tional break. Such was their re­ward for scorch­ing the life out of the game in 25 stun­ning min­utes. Hud­der­s­field were mes­merised by Tot­ten­ham’s speed of thought, speed of pass and deft­ness of touch, chas­ing the game like kit­tens paw­ing at dan­gling threads.

Harry Kane will again steal the head­lines for his two-goal burst and when he was sub­sti­tuted late on, both sets of fans got to their feet to ap­plaud.

But re­ally this was a story of col­lec­tive Tot­ten­ham ex­cel­lence, from the teak-tough three at the back to the shuf­fling, shim­my­ing three at the front. Ben Davies, one of the Pre­mier League’s most im­proved play­ers in any po­si­tion, had an­other ter­rific game on the left and was sin­gled out for praise by Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino after­wards. And from the mo­ment Chris Lowe’s early er­ror al­lowed Kane to pounce, there was a cer­tainty and a conviction to Tot­ten­ham that Hud­der­s­field never came close to tar­nish­ing.

In a way, Hud­der­s­field’s game-plan – push­ing high up the pitch, trying to up­set the rhythm of the Spurs back three – played right into their op­po­nents’ hands. Kane, Dele Alli and Chris­tian Erik­sen sim­ply gorged them­selves on the wide-open space behind the de­fence, space so of­ten de­nied them at Wem­b­ley. Tot­ten­ham pri­ori­tised for­ward mo­men­tum over re­tain­ing posses­sion, and three early goals were the re­sult.

The first, as ever, was the most important. It started with a clear­ance, an in­tel­li­gent header by Kieran Trip­pier that gave Kane some­thing to chase.

Any sort of con­tact from Lowe would have averted dan­ger. Instead, as the ball looped to­wards him at waist height, he swung a boot and failed to con­nect. Kane was in, and de­spite the tight­en­ing an­gle, never re­ally looked like miss­ing. “He’s just a one­sea­son won­der,” the Spurs fans crowed. “If you are as brave as we are, you can­not give goals away so eas­ily,” an unim­pressed David Wag­ner grum­bled after­wards. It was the early blow Tot­ten­ham wanted – per­haps even needed – and all of a sud­den, Hud­der­s­field’s game-plan lay in ru­ins. If the first goal was the most important, then the sec­ond was the most im­pres­sive – a flurry of ar­tic­u­late touches and nudges, from Erik­sen to Alli to Kane and back to Erik­sen. Lowe made a tackle on Erik­sen, but – and this is prob­a­bly the mo­ment at which he re­alised it was not going to be his day – the ball ric­o­cheted straight into the path of the un­marked Davies, who scored. Po­chet­tino pierced the air with a sat­is­fied fist. It was going to be one of those af­ter­noons.

After which, Hud­der­s­field rather went to pieces. Jonas Lossl fluffed a goal-kick. Lowe bar­relled up and down the left wing in abashed penance. The nor­mally metro­nomic Aaron Mooy was as tooth­less as he is hair­less, mis­plac­ing a suc­ces­sion of passes. And from an in­nocu­ous throw-in, Kane put the game firmly to sleep, shrug­ging off two mark­ers with a dif­fi­dent wob­ble of the shoul­ders, and curl­ing in a de­li­cious left-foot shot from 25 yards.

“It is so dif­fi­cult to speak ev­ery three days about Harry Kane and find dif­fer­ent words to de­scribe him,” Po­chet­tino said. “When we don’t have the ball, he is the first to run, fight, work hard for the team. It’s so lucky for us to have one player like him.”

Tot­ten­ham could prob­a­bly have had more. Instead, they eased off, only oc­ca­sion­ally hit­ting the high notes they were belt­ing out in that open­ing pe­riod. Kane huffed and har­ried in search of a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive hat-trick. More con­cern­ingly, Alli was booked for a frankly ris­i­ble at­tempt to win a penalty in the sec­ond half, and re­ceived a tongue-lash­ing from Po­chet­tino. “I didn’t see, so it’s dif­fi­cult for me, but if it was like this, he needs to learn,” Po­chet­tino said. “And he must learn, be­cause this type of action doesn’t help him, doesn’t help the team and doesn’t help football. We talk about fair play, be­ing hon­est, and he is learn­ing. But there is still a lit­tle bit to learn.”

There was time for one final flour­ish. Son He­ung-min car­ried the ball out of mid­field and found the cat­a­pult­ing run of Davies. His cross was scruffily con­verted by sub­sti­tute Sis­soko, a goal that will do him the world of good. “He is com­pletely dif­fer­ent to last season,” Po­chet­tino said. “He is con­fi­dent, his self­be­lief is dif­fer­ent. I am happy for him.”

As for Hud­der­s­field, this is the sort of thing that is going to hap­pen to them from time to time. Tot­ten­ham were, in the words of Wag­ner, “a dif­fer­ent class of op­po­nent”, and Hud­der­s­field will not be the last team slashed by their whirring blades. If they can stay fo­cused, stay united and heed the lessons of this de­feat, then this par­tic­u­lar cloud may yet yield its sil­ver lin­ing.

Un­stop­pable: Harry Kane curls a de­li­cious left-foot shot into the far cor­ner from 25 yards for his sec­ond goal yes­ter­day

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