Thursday 20 July 2017

Tottenham leave White Hart Lane on a high as Manchester United's top four hopes end

Tottenham 2 Manchester United 1

Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane (front right) scores his side's second goal
Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane (front right) scores his side's second goal

Simon Peach

Tottenham bid a victorious farewell to White Hart Lane after 118 years as Mauricio Pochettino's side outmanoeuvred Manchester United.

Soon the ground opened in 1899 will be fully engulfed by the structure next door, with impressive progress on Spurs' stunning new home set to accelerate after this 2,533rd and final match.

The stadium points to a future as bright as life looks on the field, with Victor Wanyama and Harry Kane goals securing a 2-1 win against United as Tottenham ended their final campaign at White Hart Lane unbeaten on home turf for the first time since 1964-65.

A record-equalling 14th successive home league victory only underlines the club's progress and promise.

Chelsea may have wrapped up the Premier League title on Friday but nobody was going to spoil the party as second place was rubber stamped against a United side for whom a top-four finish is now officially out of reach.

The Europa League has been Jose Mourinho's priority for several weeks now, but the manner of his side's display, particularly in the first half, will stick in the craw.

Tottenham's Harry Kane celebrates
Tottenham's Harry Kane celebrates

Behind after six minutes thanks to Wanyama's powerful header, it would have been worse was it not for David De Gea.

Kane also clipped the crossbar before bringing timely end to his wait for a goal against United, with the fans' favourite directing home a free-kick from the ever-impressive Christian Eriksen.

Wayne Rooney pulled one back for the visitors - the last goal at White Hart Lane - but could not take the gloss of a victorious end to life at the Lane.

Played out in front of Spurs greats and their adoring support, there could have scarcely been a better start.

As if it was not atmospheric enough inside the rickety old ground, the noise level ratcheted up several notches as much-changed United's meek defending was punished inside six minutes.

Rooney lost Wanyama as Ben Davies crossed into the box following a short corner, with the Kenyan midfielder sending the home fans wild with thumping header that De Gea was helpless to stop.

Initially Mourinho's Reds responded well as Rooney had a header before Anthony Martial shrugged off Toby Alderweireld and scampered through, going onto bend just wide of the far post.

The threat did not last long, though, as Spurs attacked with fluidity and freedom.

Son Heung-min should have done better with the finish that followed a burst forwards and United's backline breathed another a sigh of relief when Kane's close-range header clipped the crossbar.

Tottenham fans take part of the pitch grass as they celebrate after the game
Tottenham fans take part of the pitch grass as they celebrate after the game

De Gea's goal was now under increased pressure as Spurs pushed for a second.

The Real Madrid target reacted impressively to claw away a deflected Eriksen cross before denying Dele Alli with a fine, one-handed save.

De Gea used his feet to thwart Kane before the break - but three minutes after the restart the Spurs striker scored his first ever goal against United.

Again the visitors' defence was questionable from a set piece, but credit to Kane for the way he steered home Eriksen's free-kick.

Son and Kane tried their luck from distance as the match became stretched, with Martial again bending just wide after cutting inside after Kieran Trippier had penalty appeals ignored at the other end.

The sting had been taken out of the match as dark cloud gathered, only for Rooney to inject intrigue by directing home a fine Martial cross in the 71st minute.

Alli saw a shot cleared off the line by Phil Jones and substitute Marcus Rashford directed over as the rain poured in north London, where the 31,848 may not have been treated to the stunning football of recent months but an unforgettable occasion.

Such emotion led fans to pour onto the field at the final whistle, making more memories that will last a lifetime.

TWEET OF THE MATCH

"Great for Spurs to finish at the old place with a victory. Goodbye White Hart Lane" - former Tottenham striker Gary Lineker

STAR MAN

Victor Wanyama: The astute summer signing produced his latest fine display in the final match at White Hart Lane. Wanyama was a dominant presence in the Spurs midfield, running the game having opened the scoring with a thundering header inside six minutes.

IN WITH THE CROWD

A sea of flags welcomed the sides out along with a remarkable din - atmosphere that showed few signs of letting up as Spurs bid a memorable farewell to White Hart Lane. Tottenham fans went through their songbook and certainly enjoyed a victorious end to life at the old ground.

STAT OF THE MATCH

Sunday was the 2,533rd and final match at White Hart Lane. Spurs' record ends as 1,472 wins, 565 draws and 496 losses. Goals for 5,272, goals against 2,798.

RATINGS

Tottenham

Hugo Lloris 6 (out of 10)

Kieran Trippier 7

Toby Alderweireld 6

Jan Vertonghen 7

Ben Davies 7

Victor Wanyama 9

Eric Dier 8

Dele Alli 7

Christian Eriksen 8

Son Heung-min 7

Harry Kane 8

Substitutes

Mousa Dembele (on for Son, 72) 5

Kyle Walker (on for Trippier, 82) 5

Georges-Kevin Nkoudou (on for Eriksen, 90): 5

Manchester United

David De Gea 7

Eric Bailly 5

Chris Smalling 4

Phil Jones 6

Daley Blind 5

Axel Tuanzebe 5

Michael Carrick 5

Wayne Rooney 7

Juan Mata 6

Jesse Lingard 5

Anthony Martial 7

Substitutes

Henrikh Mkhitaryan (on for Lingard, 61) 6

Ander Herrera (on for Tuanzebe, 61) 7

Marcus Rashford (on for Mata, 79) 6

NEXT UP

Leicester v Tottenham (Premier League, Thursday May 18)

Southampton v Manchester United (Premier League, Wednesday May 17)

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