Kane scores first league goal of the season as Spurs win at Newcastle
18 October, 2021 — By Dan Carrier
NEWCASTLE 2 (Wilson 2, Dier 89 og, Shelvey sent off 83)
TOTTENHAM 3 (Ndombele 17, Kane 22, Son 45)
SPURS breezed past Newcastle this afternoon (Sunday) – and hardly needed to get out of second gear to gain the three points which takes Nuno Espirito Santo’s side up to fifth place.
Despite falling behind to an early Callum Wilson goal – and facing a boisterous home support, eager to see new owners, the Public Investment Fund, start their tenure at St James’ Park with a win – Tottenham quickly got into their stride and looked able to score at will.
Tanguy Ndombele, so frequently the target of criticism as his £60m price tag has yet to be justified, turned in his best performance yet. His strength and skill has always been apparent – but today he added determination, and saw out his first full 90 minutes for the club in more than a year.
Speaking after the game, Nuno said he was pleased to get another morale boosting win in potentially tricky circumstances after three disastrous losses in September. He added: “It was a good performance. We knew Newcastle were going to come out strong, with the atmosphere and the things that were happening at the club, but we were able to respond.”
Nuno also said that the break for World Cup qualifiers – which saw his squad scattered as far as South Korea and Argentina, with key players Heung-Min Son and Cristian Romero only returning to London on Friday – gave teams like Spurs, bristling with internationals, problems to solve.
The Tottenham boss added that he expected his side to show greater fluidity and strength with a run of uninterrupted games up to Christmas.
He continued: “The international break is always hard. We have to get back together and back in the rhythm. The more time they have together at the training ground, the stronger the team will be. We have talented players and we have to take advantage of that. We are achieving it, step-by-step, but there is a lot of room for improvement.”
How Nuno must have fretted on the touchline in the opening five minutes when Newcastle, second from bottom, turned form on its head and took a shock early lead. Yasir Al-Rumayyan, representing the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, had hardly had time to settle into his box seat and soak up a standing ovation from the fans when Wilson gave the boisterous home support something tangible to celebrate on the pitch. The forward got across Romero to nod home from close range after a teasing run by Allan saint-Maximin.
The visitors looked rocked – but instead of Newcastle riding the wave of adrenaline and making things tough for Nuno’s team, Spurs remembered that 11 versus 11, they were better man for man.
Ndombele, playing as an advanced midfielder, backed by the bite of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and the calm intelligence of Oliver Skipp, revelled in his role and his confidence clearly soared when he brought Spurs level on 17.
The midfielder did well to find space on the edge of the Newcastle box. With a dip of the shoulder and a nudge of the ball to give him an angle, Ndombele struck a powerful curler that left Karl Darlow in the Newcastle goal flat footed.
Seven more minutes elapsed before Spurs took the lead. Hojbjerg carved Newcastle open with a through ball for Harry Kane. The forward lifted the ball over the advancing Darlow and then had to wait while VAR checked he was onside.
When the first half restarted after a temporary pause as a Newcastle fan required medical attention, Son made it three. He latched on to a Kane cross after some good movement by Ndombele and Lucas Moura, and it appeared that the game was done.
Newcastle’s cause wasn’t helped by substitute Jonjo Shelvey earning two quick yellow cards, which made it even easier for Tottenham to hold onto the ball.
Yet despite their dominance – Spurs enjoyed 85 per cent possession in the second half – an implausible comeback appeared faintly on the horizon after a hit and hope Newcastle free-kick evaded all the players in black and white, only for Eric Dier to send the ball past his own goalkeeper.
This late wobble made no difference: Tottenham easily saw the last five minutes out. Nuno’s team are playing their way out of their September rut. For Newcastle, the damage done during the Mike Ashley era is all too apparent, as is the monstrous size of the job the club’s new owners face.
Newcastle: Darlow, Manquillo, Clark, Lascelles, Ritchie, Hayden, S Longstaff (Shelvey, 60), Willock (Murphy, 77), Saint-Maximin, Joelinton, Wilson (Fraser, 77)
Substitutes not used: Gillespie, Schar, Lewis, Hendrick, Fernandez, Gayle, Murphy
Spurs: Lloris, Royal, Romero, Dier, Reguilon, Hojbjerg, Skipp, Ndombele, Lucas, Son, Kane
Substitutes not used: Gollini, Sanchez, Winks, Gil, Lo Celso, Alli, Bergwijn, Tanganga, Davies