Son Heung-min scores 100th goal as Spurs go back to winning ways

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(Harry Kane 29-pen, Son Heung-min 43, Toby Alderweireld 50)  

Son Heung-min scored his 100th goal for Tottenham Hotspur as they returned to winning ways with a 3-0 victory over Leeds United to climb back into the English Premier League’s top four on Saturday (Jan 2).

The South Korean doubled Tottenham’s lead just before the interval after strike partner Harry Kane’s penalty had given the hosts the lead on a crisp winter day in north London.

Toby Alderweireld’s header made it 3-0 in the 50th minute.

Reaching his century of Tottenham goals was a landmark moment for Son, who is the 18th player to score 100 in all competitions for the north London club and the first from outside the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Since arriving from Bayer Leverkusen in 2015, the 28-year-old has established himself as one of Tottenham’s key players and maintaining his fine form will be key to their hopes of pushing for the title.

“I’m very happy and grateful for my teammates. I’m not doing it alone. I need a lot of help for this big achievement,” Son said.

“To score 100 goals with one team is a big thing. I’m very proud. It’s a good way to start the new year.”

Tottenham, who topped the table in December, had gone four league games without a win, but a comfortable victory over Leeds sent them into third spot with 29 points from 16 games.

The victory was especially welcome as Tottenham criticised Erik Lamela, Sergio Reguilon and Giovani Lo Celso after the trio were pictured breaching coronavirus rules by attending a large Christmas party.

The Spurs stars’ behaviour came just days after Mourinho was critical of the EPL for calling off their match against Fulham due to an outbreak of the virus among the Cottagers’ squad.

Lamela was not named in the squad on Saturday, while Reguilon was on the bench and Lo Celso was out injured.

Leeds made a vibrant start and Ezgjan Alioski shot into the side-netting after a flowing move prised open the Tottenham defence.

Moments later, Jack Harrison’s cutback was blocked by Matt Doherty and Mateusz Klich fired the loose ball over from close range.

Son shines

Patrick Bamford should have done better than head Raphinha’s cross over from six metres out.

But Tottenham finally steadied their nerves and took the lead in the 29th minute.

Steven Bergwijn got behind Alioski and went to ground after contact on the edge of the Leeds area.

The VAR (video assistant referee) decided the offence had taken place just inside the box and Kane stepped up to dispatch the penalty for his 17th goal of the season.

Kane wasted a chance to double Tottenham’s advantage when he slashed wide from a good position.

Bergwijn fared no better after Ben Davies picked him out with just Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier to beat.

Leeds nearly equalised when Harrison’s curler from the edge of the area flashed over.

Yet Son ensured his teammates’ misses wouldn’t be costly as he increased the lead with his 15th goal of the season in the 43rd minute.

Once again, it was Kane who linked up with his attacking partner to deadly effect as his perfectly weighted cross picked out Son, who guided a clinical finish past Meslier from 10 metres.

It was the 13th time Kane and Son had combined for a goal this term, equalling the EPL record set by Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton for Blackburn in 1994-95.

Tottenham put the result beyond doubt in the 50th minute.

Meslier has been the guilty party on several occasions when Leeds have conceded this season.

The French goalkeeper was caught out again when Alderweireld headed Son’s corner through his weak attempted save as the ball trickled just over the line.

With just seconds left, Doherty was dismissed for a second bookable offence after catching Pablo Hernandez with a late tackle, as Marcelo Bielsa’s side’s hopes of starting the year with a third consecutive win were dashed.

They remain in mid-table with 23 points from 17 games. – AFP, REUTERS