December 19, 2018

Tottenham’s Son Heung-min and Dele Alli see off Leicester as Harry Kane rested for Barcelona test

With one small caveat, it was a perfect night for Mauricio Pochettino as his side cruised to victory at Leicester City while setting their sights squarely on Barcelona.

Harry Kane was rested by Pochettino. So, too, was Christian Eriksen.

So step forward Son Heung-min and Dele Alli, whose goals either side of half-time were enough to see off a Leicester side who offered little genuine threat without the injured Jamie Vardy.

Kane and Eriksen were given late, comfortable cameo roles to tune them up for Tuesday’s vital Champions League trip to the Nou Camp with no need for undue exertions.

It meant Pochettino got everything he wanted from his trip to the Midlands with the exception of a worrying, late injury to Serge Aurier, who limped off.

With Kieran Trippier still sidelined by injury, youngster Kyle Walker-Peters could yet find himself pressed into action for the biggest game of his life at right-back in midweek.

Nevertheless, it was an evening of satisfaction for Spurs, who took full advantage of Manchester City’s earlier defeat at Chelsea to move within six points of Liverpool, the new Premier League leaders.

For Leicester, the absence of Vardy continues to cause headaches with Puel’s men game in defence but toothless in attack.

In a cagey opening spell, the first sight of goal was Leicester’s as Wilfred Ndidi chased a long ball from Vicente Iborra and tried a first-time shot that ballooned over the crossbar.

Son Heung-min bends in a brilliant opening goal (Reuters)

When Eric Dier was booked for a needless foul on Nampalys Mendy and Tottenham were forced to clear hurriedly from a Ben Chilwell cross, the visitors looked a little unsettled.

With Tottenham unable to find any early cohesion, it was Leicester who tried to make the running but they, too, struggled to fashion clear chances in a game that was failing to set pulses racing.

Spurs forced a corner on the half-hour as they began to enjoy more possession but Leicester defended comfortably.

Finally there was some joy for the visitors a minute later when Dele Alli found space on the right and crossed towards Son Heung-min, forcing Ricardo Pereira into an important interception inside Leicester’s six-yard box.

There was a potential flashpoint seven minutes before half-time when Leicester’s Jonny Evans accused Alli of diving on the edge of the home side’s penalty area.

Son Heung-min peels away to celebrate (EPA)

In the aftermath Tottenham should have tested Kasper Schmeichel in the Leicester goal but Moussa Sissoko had a poor final pass intercepted with Son and Alli unmarked and bearing down on goal.

Four minutes from the break, a woeful free-kick high over the crossbar by Son epitomised a poor first half.

In first-half stoppage time, Leicester captain Wes Morgan had to make a fine challenge to halt Alli as Tottenham finally found a spark.

And a few seconds later they opened the scoring as Son drifted across the edge of the Leicester penalty area and bent a superb shot into the top corner.

Harry Kane was kept on the bench until the final 20 minutes (AFP/Getty Images)

Son was denied a second goal early in the second half when Tottenham intercepted a poor Schmeichel clearance and worked the ball to the Korean, who was thwarted by Morgan’s timely block.

Leicester made a double-change on 56 minutes in an effort to improve their fortunes but just two minutes later they found themselves 2-0 down.

Mendy’s pass was intercepted and Spurs broke ruthlessly with Alli just remaining onside to ghost in at the far post and head home Son’s floated cross from the left.

Leicester (4-1-4-1): Schmeichel; Ricardo, Morgan, Evans, Chilwell; Iborra (Albrighton 56); Gray, Ndidi, Mendy (Okazaki 79), Maddison; Iheanacho (Ghezzal 56). Substitutes: Ward, Maguire, Fuchs, Choudhury. Booked: Mendy.

Tottenham (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Aurier (Walker-Peters 78), Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Dier, Winks; Sissoko, Alli, Son (Kane 74); Moura (Eriksen 67). Substitutes: Rose, N’Koudou, Gazzaniga, Skipp. Booked: Dier.

Referee: Craig Pawson.

Attendance: 31,957

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