Harry Kane shows where his loyalties lie as Tottenham beat Manchester City in five-goal thriller


Harry Kane demonstrated that his loyalties undoubtedly lie with Tottenham Hotspur after scoring two goals, including an injury-time winner, to secure a remarkable 3-2 win over Manchester City.

Kane, who markedly attempted to force through a move to the Etihad Stadium last summer, clinically headed home Dejan Kulusevski’s cross to provoke wild celebrations and seal the best possible response to two consecutive Premier League defeats for Antonio Conte’s men.

In a breathtaking end-to-end match, City appeared to have stolen a point after Riyad Mahrez converted a penalty that was awarded by VAR following Cristian Romero’s handball.

Tottenham displayed character, counter-attacking threat and defensive resilience, which was made even more impressive by the fact that such attributes have been absent in recent results and performances.

Although even the most optimistic of Spurs supporters would have not foreseen their sharp start to the game, within five minutes, Kane’s sumptuous first-time pass sent Heung-Min Son in behind the Citizens’ defence, a sight that became all too common for Pep Guardiola throughout proceedings.

Son expertly set up Kulusevski for the Swede to score his first goal in English football since joining on loan from Juventus.

In spite of conceding twice, Conte would not have been disheartened by his side’s defensive showing. An avoidable error from skipper Hugo Lloris allowed İlkay Gündoğan to equalise for the home side. Though, aside from that, only long-range efforts particularly troubled the Frenchman, who made a sublime second-half save to deny Gündoğan a second.

While City continued to probe, Kane duly stepped up when he was needed. His ball from the right-hand side eventually arrived at the feet of Son whose inch-perfect delivery was converted with ease by the England captain despite him having completed a gut-busting sprint into the penalty area in order to latch onto the cross.

Kane should have added to his tally in the 64th minute when one-on-one with Ederson as the hosts committed bodies forward in search of another equaliser, however, the forward was denied by the Brazillian. VAR then also prevented the 28-year-old from scoring in the 74th minute due to a correct offside call against Kulusevski.

In many ways, it is fitting that such a contest will not be headlined by a VAR decision. Nevertheless, Romero was guilty of leaving his arm outstretched and Anthony Taylor evidently recognised that when opting to reverse his original decision to a penalty. Mahrez kept his cool and was as clinical as you can get from 12 yards.

Conte labelled Kulusevski “fantastic” post-match, which is probably a fitting description, especially for his cross that set up Kane’s match-winning goal.

Questions of Conte’s immediate future have been raised in the media following what appeared to be an average January transfer window. Though with performances such as that, Spurs’ business may not prove to be that bad, as a matter of fact, it was fellow signing Rodrigo Bentacur who played the proceeding pass into Kulusevski.

Judging off the Italian’s distinctive celebrations, however, there were no signs of disgruntlement and Conte seems to be committed to the project.

As for Kane, it will be intriguing to see whether the England captain will be inspired to stay with Spurs on the basis that these types of nights will become a regular occurrence under Conte.

Equally, if he was using this platform as an audition to convince City to make another move for him in the summer, then Kane has not done his prospects any harm whatsoever, quite the contrary.

Ultimately, it cannot be emphasised how great of an advert the affair was for Premier League football. A contrast in tactical styles, managerial personalities and end-of-season targets all equated to one of the most exciting spectacles we have seen this season.

Guardiola’s side were not at their brilliant best, yet still proved a stern challenge for Tottenham and one which, against the odds, they passed with flying colours to reignite hopes of Champions League qualification.

Who knows how vital this result could prove to be in May and in the context of Conte’s tenure.

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BA (Hons) Sports Business & Broadcasting undergraduate student with an academic and practical understanding of sports content creation. Experienced content writer and producer of sports videos and podcasts. Experience of communications in a professional sporting environment. Content creation capabilities indicated through journalism role with Prost International and creation of WBAReport Podcast. Expertise in working in a professional environment developed through marketing and activation internship with Eleven Sports Media Twitter - @mattsport_

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