Harry Kane had clearly read the script, and his 43rd minute strike was enough to see Tottenham Hotspur record a 1-0 win over Sydney FC at ANZ Stadium.
It’s been a season to remember for Spurs striker Harry Kane, and the 21-year-old continued his fine Premier League form in the AIA Cup against Sydney FC, scoring the only goal in the 1-0 victory.
The 71,000-plus crowd experienced something of a false start, with ball trouble less than two minutes in holding up a Hugo Lloris goal-kick. Once play got back underway the impressive turnout of Sydney and Tottenham fans were treated to an entertaining and open first-half at ANZ Stadium.
Both sides had opportunities to take the lead early in the first-half, but some poor finishing cost both sides as it remained 0-0.
Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane all failed to beat Necevski with chances you’d expect them to take – and Lamela almost repeated his rabona heroics of the Europa League – though the Sydney veteran was on his game and made several decent saves to keep the Premier League side at bay.
It wasn’t long before it was Hugo Lloris who was sprung into action at the other end, as both sides looked vulnerable on the break, and the Frenchman got down smartly to stop a Kiki Naumoff effort, but was left stranded shortly after when a poor back-pass from Deandre Yedlin put Alex Brosque through one on one.
The Sydney club captain rounded Lloris before firing low at goal but Jan Vertonghen was on hand to clear the ball off the line.
Both sides were creating chances – though Spurs looked the more likely with the swiftness of their counter-attacking through the likes of Townsend and Lamela – but the match looked destined to remain scoreless heading into the break as Kane scuffed Tottenham’s best chance on 39 minutes.
Four minutes later though and a cleared Sydney corner left them three on three at the back as Spurs sprung into action on the break. A first-time left-footed pass from Eriksen gave Lamela space to run at the backline and after drawing the defenders inside, the Argentine fed the overlapping Kane who had one touch before firing into the bottom corner to take the lead right on half-time, and make amends for his earlier miss.
The second half failed to live up to the all-action style of the first with the chances drying up and paper planes beginning to entertain the fans more than the match – with one sent from the top tier flying over the field before turning 180 degrees and landing in the hands of fourth official Kris Griffiths-Jones on the touchline.
Kane had a great chance to double his tally midway through the half – and make it two braces in four days after netting twice in Malaysia – but Seb Ryall found himself on the line to clear the danger.
Sydney goalkeeper Necevski was substituted to a great reception in the 35-year-old’s last appearance for the Sky Blues in the 88th minute, while highly-rated youngster George Blackwood, a second-half substitute, was inches away from snatching a draw for Sydney.
A late surge from the Sky Blues culminated in the youngster’s stoppage-time header that drifted just wide of Michel Vorm’s left-hand post, meaning it remained 1-0 and Tottenham lifted the AIA Cup.
Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Sydney FC
Referee: Minhu Lee (Korea)
Lloris (45′); Yedlin, Stambouli, Vertonghen (45′), Bentaleb; Mason (63′), Dembele (45′); Townsend (63′), Eriksen (45′), Lamela (63′); Kane (85′).
Substitutions: Vorm, Walker-Peters, Chadli, Dier (45′), Carroll, Ward, Winks (63′), Onomah (85′).
Goal: Kane (43′)
Necevski (88′); Grant (73′), Ryall, Petkovic, Gersbach; Ibini (81′), Antonis (66′), Tavares (45′), Naumoff (45′); Brosque (45′), Smeltz (45′).
Substitutions: Triantis, Blackwood, Stambolziev, Hoole (45′), Gligor (66′), Calver (73′), O’Neill (81′), Bouzanis (88′).