Tottenham 3-0 Pacos de Ferreira: Harry Kane brace fires Spurs to European victory
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 26: Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur takes a shot under pressure from Andre Ferreira of Pacos de Ferreira during the UEFA Conference League Play-Offs Leg Two match between Tottenham Hotspur and Pacos de Ferreira at on August 26, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

European football was back in North London this evening in the form of the inaugural Europa Conference League, with Tottenham Hotspur sealing their place in the group stages after a 3-0 win over Pacos de Ferreira.

Tottenham took the lead with just nine minutes on the clock when Bryan Gil's cross fell to the cushioned feet of Harry Kane in the box, with the striker finishing cooly in front of his home crowd.

By minute 34, Spurs were ahead on the night and on aggregate as that man Kane was on hand once again to pass a loose ball into the back of the net after some good work from Giovani Lo Celso

The Argentine was the centre of attention for Tottenham's third as he caught the Pacos defence out by whipping a free-kick towards the near post, a slight deflection taking it past the keeper.

By the time the referee blew the final whistle, Tottenham had overturned their deficit from the previous week, defeating Pacos 3-1 on aggregate.

Story of the match:

It was a lively start to proceedings this evening at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as Cristian Romero put Harry Kane through on goal with a Toby Alderweireld-esque ball just one minute into the match.

Unfortunately, Kane could not convert in front of the home crowd, but took advantage of an injury break just after to clap them as they emotionally chanted 'he's one of our own'. 

Minutes later, after Harry Winks won the ball back in midfield and released Bryan Gil, the Spaniard found Kane in the box and the England captain made no mistake. A lovely touch and a fine finish to make it 1-0. 

A true example of his all-around play, Kane then dropped deep to create a fantastic chance for Ryan Sessegnon at the back-post, but the wing-back was left inches short of connecting.

The chances kept coming for Spurs as Giovani Lo Celso's neat footwork created another scruffy opportunity for Sessegnon, while Matt Doherty failed to find a square pass to Kane after a fabulous Lucas Moura through-ball. 

After 32 minutes, Gil received a central pass from Kane, shifted it onto his left foot and took aim. The resulting shot deflected and crashed off the post from outside the box.

Just 60 seconds later, after a series of horrific attempts to play out from the back for Pacos, Harry Kane latched onto a loose ball in the box and tucked it home for his and Tottenham's second. 

The North Londoners went into the break two goals to the good and certainly worth the aggregate lead, much to the delight of the noisy home crowd.

On the other side of half-time, Gil found himself the recipient of some poor luck once again after he worked a tidy shooting chance for himself only to see it deflect up and over the crossbar.

Lo Celso also had a great chance to make it three after receiving a great pullback in the box from Doherty only to see the keeper save his effort.

20-year-old Bryan Gil was back on the ball again in the 67th minute as Tottenham race through on the break. Ignoring a Kane decoy run and a Romero burst from deep, the Spaniard dragged it agonisingly wide.

Fortunately, the third goal did eventually come as Lo Celso whipped a free-kick towards the near post, with the Pacos defender flicking it past his own keeper.

After some nice work from Moura and Lo Celso, substitute Heung-min Son had a good chance to make it four on the night but fired just wide.

With just 13 left on the clock, and minutes after coming on, Steven Bergwijn beat two Pacos defenders out left to work a shooting opportunity from a tight angle, only to smash the post. 

Come the 83rd minute, it was remarkably the woodwork again for Spurs as Son was played through and failed to find the back of the net.

It certainly could have been more for the Lilywhites on the night but the home crowd filtered out the stadium after having been treated to a genuinely enjoyable Conference League affair.

Man of the Match:

It can often be a cop-out to hand a Man of the Match award to the striker just because they have scored a couple of goals - well that is not the case tonight.

Harry Kane was, just over a game into his season, back to his best in a Spurs shirt. He took his chances expertly, like a man who has never been away; like a man who has not been the subject of the biggest transfer saga of the summer.

Not only that, but Kane also dropped deep and pulled the strings for Tottenham this evening, even striking partnerships with new teammates such as Bryan Gil. 

In terms of all-around striker performance, scoring goals, bringing others into play, creating chances - that was exactly what Kane did tonight.

Of course, it was against lesser opposition, but this is still pre-season for Kane and those goals would have felt oh so sweet after the summer he has had.

One honourable mention has to be Giovani Lo Celso as I could have just as easily chosen him for his creativity and goal. If not for the story surrounding Kane heading into the match, I just might have.

 

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