Harry Kane shines as Tottenham close gap on Leicester with Bournemouth win
Harry Kane grabbed a brace to move top of the Barclays Premier League scoring charts and help Tottenham keep the pressure on Leicester with a 3-0 win over Bournemouth.
Kane needed only 44 seconds to find the net at White Hart Lane and the striker was on target again 15 minutes later to take his league tally to 21 for the season, before Christian Eriksen added a third in the second half.
The victory reduces the gap between Spurs and league leaders Leicester back to five points while Bournemouth remain 13th, 12 points above the relegation zone.
Kane bagged a hat-trick in Tottenham's 5-1 win over the Cherries in October and given that treble heralded the end of a difficult start to the season for the forward, who had then scored only once in 13 previous appearances, there is some symmetry that five months on, against the same opposition, he has established himself as the league's most lethal predator.
Kane's 21 goals in the league means he now has two more than Jamie Vardy and is three up on Romelu Lukaku, while he also becomes only the fifth Englishman to hit 20 or more in consecutive Premier League campaigns, joining the esteemed company of Andy Cole, Les Ferdinand, Robbie Fowler and Alan Shearer.
Leicester's 1-0 win at Crystal Palace on Saturday meant the onus was on Mauricio Pochettino's men to keep pace in the title race and this was an important three points given they now face Liverpool, Manchester United and Stoke in their next three games.
Bournemouth arrived on the back of three successive victories themselves but they got off to a nightmare start as Kane's deft touch 44 seconds in sent Kyle Walker's bending cross into the far corner of the net.
Tottenham were rampant early on and before Bournemouth could find their bearings it was two, Dele Alli picking out Kane's forward run and the striker slotting home left-footed after 16 minutes to put his side in cruise control.
The hosts began to strut and swagger as Eric Dier and Toby Alderweireld sprayed passes from one side of the pitch to the other and then Eriksen set Alli scampering with a silky flick behind his legs.
Bournemouth's Steve Cook headed a free-kick over the bar but Tottenham were barely breaking sweat and Alli thought he had a third before half-time only for Kane, who had helped on Eriksen's cross, to be flagged offside.
Eddie Howe made two changes at the interval, bringing on Lewis Grabban and Eunan O'Kane, but Spurs began where they had left off, Kane turning provider this time with a fizzing shot from range that Artur Boruc could only parry into the path of Eriksen, who slammed in the rebound.
Buoyant, the Spurs faithful began taunting their title rivals with chants of 'Leicester City, we're coming for you' only for Bournemouth fans to respond with, 'Leicester City, they're top of the league'.
Alli and Eriksen could both have made the scoreline more emphatic in the latter stages but it was no matter for the home fans. Tottenham's title challenge remains on track.
TWEET OF THE MATCH
"Harry Kane you beauty #coys" - Former world number one golfer Luke Donald (@LukeDonald) was happy with Harry Kane's performance.
Hugo Lloris: 6 (out of 10)
Kyle Walker: 8
Toby Alderweireld: 6
Kevin Wimmer: 6
Danny Rose: 7
Eric Dier: 6
Mousa Dembele: 7
Erik Lamela: 7
Christian Eriksen: 8
Dele Alli: 8
Harry Kane: 9
Tom Carroll (on for Lamela, 66): 6
Ryan Mason (on for Alli, 80): 5
Nacer Chadli (on for Dier, 90): 5
Artur Boruc: 5
Simon Francis: 6
Steve Cook: 6
Andrew Surman: 5
Harry Arter: 5
Max Gradel: 5
Charlie Daniels: 6
Adam Smith: 5
Joshua King: 6
Benik Afobe: 5
Matt Ritchie: 5
Lewis Grabban (on for Afobe, 45): 6
Eunan O'Kane (on for Arter, 45): 5
Marc Pugh (on for Gradel, 69): 5
Harry Kane: Kane now has 24 goals in all competitions this season and five against Bournemouth, having hit a hat-trick against the Cherries in October. He was inspired here and looks a certain starter for England at Euro 2016.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Kane's opening goal: It came only 44 seconds into the contest as Kane turned in Kyle Walker's cross and that set the tone for the rest of the afternoon. Bournemouth never recovered.
VIEW FROM THE BENCH
Mauricio Pochettino could hardly have asked for a more comfortable afternoon and he will be delighted to see his star striker hitting hot form at just the right time. Eric Dier also avoided a 10th yellow card, which would have seen him face a two-match suspension. Eddie Howe's men are all-but guaranteed safety but he will want to make sure this sort of lethargic display does not become a habit during the run-in.
MOAN OF THE MATCH
When did football fans become so generous as to start singing songs on behalf of other clubs? Bournemouth supporters regularly broke into chants of, 'Leicester City, they're top of the league' at White Hart Lane. Will Leicester fans next return the favour with 'Bournemouth are staying up'?
WHO'S UP NEXT?
Liverpool v Tottenham, Saturday, April 2 (Premier League)
Bournemouth v Manchester City, Saturday, April 2 (Premier League)