Harry Kane scored a second-half winner to help Tottenham produce one of the narrow football scores of the weekend in the FA Cup. After bending a beautiful attempt into the corner from the edge of the box at the opening of the second half, Kane moved one goal behind Jimmy Greaves, the all-time leading scorer for Spurs. With a significantly different lineup from their 4-0 triumph at Crystal Palace, Tottenham labored the entire time to break down the managerless visitors, who had fired manager Danny Cowley on Monday after nine league games without a victory. Although Spurs struggled to a 1-0 victory, both Kane and Heung-Min Son preserved their spots, concluding a successful week for Antonio Conte ahead of the north London derby with Arsenal the following Sunday.
Portsmouth came the closest to establishing a surprising lead in the first half as Tottenham failed to put a chance on goal. Reeco Hackett-Fairchild made a slight adjustment to his body in the penalty area in order to rotate and sweep an overhead kick at goal, which Fraser Forster had to deflect. Kane came close to scoring from a corner, and Son shot just wide, but the tenacious opponents, who had over 9,000 cheerings them on, utterly frustrated the Spurs.
Even though Kane put Tottenham ahead five minutes after the interval during a quick Tottenham start that saw Emerson Royal’s headed attempt rebound off a post, the crowd was still unsatisfied. Prior to bending a flawless shot into the corner for his third goal of the week, Kane and Ryan Sessegnon swapped passes on the edge of the box. Son shot over and Oliver Skipp’s off-target shot from the middle of the box with a clear shot on goal during Tottenham’s dominance in the second half, but it didn’t matter because Spurs won.
“Portsmouth deserves praise, in my opinion, as they played well and made it difficult for us to win. Finding a means to succeed was challenging. We are pleased because we had control of the game and had possession. We might have been able to score sooner, but we were unsuccessful. Once we scored, the game changed and turned out a lot better for us,” Tottenham assistant coach Cristian Stellini said. “To score [after halftime], we had to push them to their limits. In an effort to find a solution, we tried moving players, putting Oliver Skipp in a box, and dropping Harry Kane [into space]. Because he is our best player and the captain of England, we must take good care of him. We have very difficult games ahead of us, and Harry is crucial to our success.”
“I’m quite happy with them because we were able to contain a top team and force a world-class player to score a world-class goal. We presented a threat early on in the game and were in good physical and mental shape. Although we made an effort, which is understandable, I’m really happy with the players,” Portsmouth manager Simon Bassey said. “The other night, Tottenham defeated Palace in just 23 minutes; they are capable of doing it to you. However, our gamers severely constrained them. It says something when Harry Kane has to take that out of the bag. We almost fell behind twice, and our final delivery may have lacked a little in quality, but today we were simply on the wrong side of those small hiccups.”
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