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Tottenham fight back to beat Leicester
The Tottenham support chanted that they were going home and there is excitement among their number at the prospect of returning to the rebuilt White Hart Lane next season. Yet what a send-off they gave to Wembley.
The merits of the club’s temporary accommodation at the national stadium have been a talking point throughout a season that has finished with them securing third place in the Premier League and a third consecutive Champions League qualification.
Spurs started badly at Wembley but they grew into the old place and they can look back on a handful of outstanding wins against Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal in the league, plus Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid in the Champions League.
On the other hand the three defeats that Mauricio Pochettino feels have scarred the season were also here – against Juventus in the Champions League, Manchester City in the league and Manchester United in the FA Cup. This victory against a spirited Leicester City will stand the test of time mainly for its wackiness. The entertainment value, however, was rich.
On an afternoon when defending was clearly not a part of either team’s plans, Tottenham
trailed 3-1 before storming back to lead 4-3 thanks to a pair of Erik Lamela goals and an
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unwitting assist from him for the other one. Jamie Vardy found the equaliser for Leicester with his second of the game before Harry Kane – who else? – sealed it for Spurs with a second of his own.
Tottenham had invited a host of their former players to the game and one of them, Paul Gascoigne, who was presented on the pitch at half-time, could be seen performing The Floss dance up in the stands when Kane’s winner went in. Around him Gary Mabbutt smiled, Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa applauded and Dimitar Berbatov just looked cool.
Kane finished with 30 league goals for the season but it was not enough to overhaul Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah in the
race for the Golden Boot. Kane had won the award in the previous two seasons with 25 and 29 goals.
Leicester played a full part in a see‑saw spectacle and they will wonder how they went home with nothing other than a fifth defeat in seven league matches. The focus will now turn to the future of the manager, Claude Puel, but it is fair to say that his players performed for him here. “Speculation is not my area,” Puel said. “We need stability. I will try to make this work. This is just the second time in 18 years we have finished in the first half of the table.”
The game exploded into life at the outset, with Vardy in the mood. He put Leicester in front with a flicked header
from Riyad Mahrez’s free-kick but Tottenham hit back when Danny Simpson’s loose pass hit Lucas Moura and Kane was away. He beat Eldin Jakupovic with
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a low shot inside the near post.
Tottenham had lost Jan Vertonghen to a calf problem in the warm-up and so Pochettino reshuffled, bringing Victor Wanyama into the line-up in midfield and dropping Eric Dier back to central defence, where he partnered
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Toby Alderweireld. Kyle Walker‑Peters enjoyed a rare opportunity at right‑back and he suffered, at times, defensively yet he looked good going forward. It was pretty much the story of every player’s day.
Leicester were back in charge with 16 minutes on the clock and the goal owed much to an incision from Kelechi Iheanacho. Walker-Peters and Vardy challenged for a loose ball and, when it broke
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for Mahrez, he banged past Hugo Lloris. Leicester ought to have been further
in front on 26 minutes but Demarai Gray could not beat Lloris when one-on-one, after Vardy’s lovely touch. Spurs were booed off by some of their supporters at the interval.
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