Monday 23 July 2018

Classy Kane shows little respect for veteran Buffon

Tottenham's Harry Kane applauds fans after the match Photo: Reuters/Paul Childs
Tottenham's Harry Kane applauds fans after the match Photo: Reuters/Paul Childs

Paul Hayward

The first goal conceded by Juventus in 2018 was scored by Harry Kane. Of course it was. England's best striker leaves his calling card wherever he goes, and there could be no finer way of leaving it here than running round the imperishable Gianluigi Buffon and sweeping it into his net.

Every week, Kane announces his talent. Few Premier League fields remain unconquered by his goalscoring ability, evenly balanced between left and right foot.

Yes, for generations in England we bemoaned the one-footedness of the top players. But when old man Buffon came racing off his line to stop the English predator, Kane darted away from him and finished with his left.

Shame his header from a Christian Eriksen chip moments earlier had flown straight at Italy's greatest modern goalkeeper.

Mark this down as one of the best Champions League comebacks of recent years and a game that made Buffon, in his 114th appearance in the competition, look well past his prime. Buffon's slow dive to stop to an Eriksen free-kick after 71 minutes was an incremental attempt to prevent Spurs equalising. There was no sympathy for the elderly from Eriksen, who forms a formidable partnership with Kane.

After four seasons of prolific work back home, the spotlight on Kane has very much shifted to these great European arenas, where we now see him tested against the best Champions League defences, in hostile environments.


It was Kane who rallied Mauricio Pochettino's team when Higuain struck twice inside the first 10 minutes. This calamitous start would have broken a less confident team, but Spurs returned to their incisive passing and movement.

The synchronicity between Kane, Dele Alli, Eriksen and Heung-Min Son (or, in this case, Erik Lamela) is a formidable weapon no opponent can feel comfortable against.

Kane has now scored eight times in his last seven outings, and seven in six Champions League fixtures. Europe's top clubs are now waking up to the reality that there is no peace with him on the field. Covetous looks must be forming on every club president's face. On nights like this, however, you would hate to take him out of team that is still maturing, suits his abilities and allows him so many chances to capitalise on good approach play.

Any team capable of coming from 2-0 down against Juventus has serious intent. To beat Real Madrid and match Juventus half-way through the round of 16 is a considerable feat. Kane has beaten many defenders and keepers from the current generation of stars. Here in Turin, he went back through the roster to beat Buffon, who is 16 years his senior. No respect for a veteran.

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