Kane penalty tilts Champions League race in Tottenham's favour

Kane scores from the spot to seal 1-0 victory over Burnley as Spurs close in on top-four finish

Tuesday, 17th May — By Dan Carrier

spurs stadium white hart lane

Premier League

TOTTENHAM 1 (Kane 45 pen)

IT took a Harry Kane penalty for Tottenham to seal all three points against relegation troubled Burnley this afternoon (Sunday), pushing Antonio Conte’s side two points ahead of Arsenal.

It sets up what promises to be the most exciting final day finish since 2006 and the infamous “Lasagnegate” incident, in which Spurs went down with food poisoning on the last day of the season and needed a win or draw against West Ham. Tottenham lost 2-1, allowing Arsenal to leap frog them into fourth place.

Speaking after the Burnley game, Spurs manager Conte spoke of how the fans had helped turn the new ground into an intimidating cauldron of noise.

He said: “For Tottenham, the fans are vital because you have an amazing stadium so to create an amazing atmosphere in every game is very important.

“I think our fans have to play an important role in every game, and this stadium has to become a fortress for Tottenham, I think, because it’s amazing.”

Conte said that the victory had been far from straight forward but showed his players were ready to dig in against sides with a clear defensive game plan.

He added: “It is not simple, to face Burnley wasn’t easy. They tested our nerves because for us it was vital to get three points and to have an opportunity to take a place in the Champions League and stay until the end for this big achievement.

“I am very happy because I saw a team that improved a lot step by step and now I think deserves, in the same way like Arsenal, to go for a place in the Champions League. But we will see what happens at the end of the season.”

All too often this season, Spurs have come undone against lesser teams that are well organised and play a deep defensive line, leaving no space for the pacy attacks Kane and Heung-Min Son thrive on.

In recent weeks, damaging results against Brighton and Brentford mean the race for Champions League football is gong to the wire, and from the off, Spurs looked like they were not in the mood to be shackled by another side playing with a deep defensive line.

Lucas Moura was given a start – Dejan Kulusevski and others in the Tottenham squad had fallen ill during the week – and the Brazilian set about his task of causing mayhem up front with relish. Moura’s adventurous style set the pattern early on, as he looked to run with purpose every time he received the ball.

It was a barrage of possession, giving Nick Pope in the Burnley goal plenty to think about. On 20 minutes, Pope was beaten by Kane but his header was brilliantly scooped off the line, while Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Davinson Sanchez saw efforts blocked.

It was coming: Kane then blasted an excellent effort narrowly wide, and Rodrigo Bentancur, revelling in the spaces afforded in the middle by Burnley, slammed a shot over the bar.

It took until added time in the first half – and a long VAR check – to see Spurs take the lead.

The penalty kick came about after some pinball football in the Burnley box. Scrapping for a loose ball following a corner kick, Sanchez scooped the ball up and it struck Ashley Barnes’ outstretched arm. It was an unfortunate penalty to concede, and was certainly unintentional.

But such moments could send Burnley down and Spurs into the Champions League, so fine are the margins in this penultimate set of matches.

Tottenham managed the game well through the second half, the only real scare being a peach of an effort from Burnley’s Barnes that saw Hugo Lloris well-beaten, but smacked against the post.

Pope topped an excellent performance in the Burnley goal with a brilliant one-handed save from Son.

Spurs, it felt, could have stepped through the gears if needed, but with something of an excitement hangover following the 3-0 victory over Arsenal on Thursday, they seemed happy to keep Burnley at arms length and see out the game with as little fuss as possible.

Tottenham: Lloris, Sanchez, Dier, Davies, Royal (Rodon, 89), Sessegnon, Bentancur, Hojbjerg, Moura (Kulusevski, 79), Son, Kane
Substitutes not used: Gollini, Austin, Winks, Bergwijn, White, Scarlett, Craig

Burnley: Pope, Roberts, Long, Collins, Lowton (Lennon, 77), Taylor, Cork, Brownhill, McNeil, Cornet, Barnes (Weghorst, 77)
Substitutes not used: Hennessey, Bardsley, Mancini, Thomas, Dodgson, Costelloe, McGlynn

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