BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
SATURDAY 7TH MARCH, 2015
QUEENS PARK RANGERS 1(0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2(1)
Kane 35, 68
Attendance:- 17, 992
Referee:- Craig Pawson
Assistants:- S. Child & P. Kirkup
Fourth official:- R. East
QPR (4-3-2-1):- Green; Onuoha, Ferdinand, Caulker, Yun Suk-Young; Isla (sub Hoilett, 71), Henry (sub Grego-Cox, 88), Sandro (sub Wright-Phillips, 90+3); Phillips, Austin; Zamora (Capt,)
Subs not used:- Comley; Hill; McCarthy, Kranjcar
Booked:- Henry (foul on Mason)
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Walker, Dier, Vertonghen, Davies; Mason, Bentaleb; Townsend (sub Dembele, 65), Eriksen (sub Stambouli, 88), Chadli (sub Lamela, 79); Kane
Subs not used:- Vorm; Rose, Fazio; Soldado
Booked:- Bentaleb (foul on Henry), Mason (foul on Henry)
Kane gives "Hoops" stick
Once again, Harry Kane was the Spurs hero, with his third Premier League brace of the season, all of which have been scored against London teams. With these two, Harry has taken his total in all games this season to 26, matching Gareth Bale in his last season with Spurs. With ten games to go, Harry is going to beat that total.
Kane has also now scored 16 Premier League goals, going one ahead of QPR's Charlie Austin, and only one behind the league's top scorers, Aguero and Diego Costa. That's quite some record. Harry also has every chance of beating Bale's 21 league goals in 2012-13.
Thanks to Kane, and plenty of effort and application from the team around him, Spurs have managed yet another 2-1 away win, taking six points from two games in four days, and forging ahead of Southampton to sixth place. Next Sunday's game against Manchester United at Old Trafford takes on great importance, as Spurs could draw level on points at least, with a history-making third consecutive win at "The Theatre of Dreams". That's for next week!
Spring has come early to London, and it was shirt sleeve order at Loftus Road, where the away section was packed, and cramped, with hardly any room between the rows of seats. Thankfully for my knees, we didn't have to sit down, although tickets cost £55.
Rangers sought to balance defence and attack well, with Rio Ferdinand partnering former Spur Steven Caulker. They had three just in front of them - Isla, Henry and another ex-Spur - Sandro, who was lauded as a former Spurs fans's favourite. Behind Bobby Zamora up front were Matt Phillips and Charlie Austin.
Zamora, with his expert hold-up play, and Charlie Austin, with his strength, power and desire to score were often a problem for the Spurs defence. Spurs were put under the cosh in the very early stages, and in the latter stages of the second half, when QPR got a goal back.
As for Spurs, the only team change was Ben Davies for Danny Rose, perhaps a little tired from his exertions in the previous two games.
Spurs must have won the toss and chose to play towards The Loftus Road end, at least allowing Lloris refuge from direct sunlight in the first half. QPR threatened within the first minute, after a throw on the left, which Spurs failed to clear. Zamora headed the ball, and Lloris was covering, but the ball landed on top of the bar, and a goal-kick was awarded.
Townsend made a good run down the right flank against left back Yun Suk-Yeung, and won a corner. Back at the other end, Austin had a shot on target, which was blocked by Zamora.
Rob Green (England's number 6 according to the travelling fans) made a great diving save from Harry Kane's effort from a Kyle Walker cross. Walker had a bit of a spat with Austin near the touch line, but referee Craig Pawson just "had words" A free kick awarded to "The Hoops" was cleared.
Jan Vertonghen gained ground in his own half and fed the ball to Eriksen, who hit a disguised pass to Harry Kane down the left flank. When Kane crossed, Vertonghen had continued his run, but his shot lacked power, and went wide.
Disaster nearly struck, when Spurs struggled to clear, and Walker hit a poor back-header, which Lloris had to scramble to push away to his left, with Austin threatening. Austin fed a ball to Phillips, whose shot was well outside the target. Vertonghen closed down and blocked an on-target Austin shot just outside the area.
After 28 minutes, Mason over-hit an attempted pass in the opposition half, which gave them the initiative. The attack culminated in Phillips setting up Austin, whose shot rebounded off the bar, with Lloris beaten.
Spurs had seen out the early onslaught by the home side, who then suffered a set-back. Kane had been fouled out on the right by his ex team-mate Caulker. Townsend took the free kick, swung in with his left foot, and Kane got between the defence and Rob Green to head home.
QPR fans wanted blood when their man Isla went down, after coming off the worse in a collision with Lloris, as they both challenged for a chipped ball into the Spurs box. Isla got no sympathy from the Spurs fans behind the goal, and QPR got no free kick, or penalty.
As we entered added time, Eriksen and Kane made ground down the left flank, and the ball was crossed deep across the area, reaching Walker, whose shot was deflected and pushed away. At the other end, Lloris was called upon to save an Austin shot.
Pochettino's half-time talk must have been inspiring, because Spurs came out and played with more desire, tempo, and not a little skill and movement, which gave the QPR defende problems. I felt that Yun Suk-Young was always vulnerable, and Caulker struggled against movement. Ferdinand "used his experience", often with good results for him against Kane. The referee was quite lenient regarding some of the physical stuff, and his interpretation of the shoulder barge was, shall we say, interesting.
Only a minute into the second half, Eriksen had Green beaten with a right foot shot which rebounded off Green's left post. Harry Kane screwed his attempted follow-up wide. Minutes later, Townsend was through in the middle and should have scored, but he too fired wide, and put his hands to his head.
Eriksen tried to force his way through under close marking in the Rangers' box to find a shooting position. The ball ran through to Kane, who was adjudged offside.
Kyle Walker defended well against the advancing Phillips down the QPR left flank, and then Spurs countered well from the corner. Eriksen had time and space on the right of the area, but failed to capitalise, and fired wide.
Eric Dier was grounded when challenging Zamora on the left. Zamora hit a powerful shot from a sharp angle, which was well saved by Lloris.
It was end to end stuff, and Harry Kane threaded a lovely ball for the advancing Walker, whose shot was saved by Green. Eriksen's follow-up was blocked, and Mason went down just inside the box when in pursuit, but got no reward.
Soon after that, there was a melee near the half-way line and the dug-outs, with Mason getting upset. Karl Henry got the first yellow of the game.
It should be said that both Mason and in particular Bentaleb were immense for Spurs in front of the defence. Bentaleb has the height to win aerial battles, as well as his tackling and passing skills, and is surely a fixture in this Spurs team. Both he and Mason also got booked, as a result of their ongoing battle with Henry.
Andros Townsend was replaced by Dembele, who fitted in well with the Spurs pattern of short and snappy passing. Spurs were often leaving Rangers bemused with their skill. After a foul on Dembele, Eriksen hit his free kick wide.
Harry Kane's effort was unrelenting all the way to the very end of the game, and after getting to the bye-line he hit a low and powerful cross, which Green did well to hold with Eriksen challenging.
Kane scored his second, and what looked like being the killer goal, as he broke clear, after Mason hit a lofted ball from inside his half. Kane had Chadli to his right, but rounded Green and fired home.
However, the tension rose, as for the second time in four days, an ex-Spur scored against us. This time it was Sandro, side-footing home after Zamora laid back a ball from the right, which came via Austin. Like Sigurdsson on Wednesday, Sandro did not celebrate. There are too many ex-Spurs around this league!
A Spurs cross from the right was headed on by Dembele, but Eriksen's shot was saved.
A QPR free kick was headed by Caulker into Austin's path and his shot was blocked by Bentaleb, who was severely winded by his effort. The home fans wanted a penalty for handball, but appealed to no avail. They also wanted a penalty for an Eric Dier aerial challenge.
Kyle Walker came off the worse in a challenge with QPR substitute Junior Hoilett, and with the pressure mounting on Spurs, Austin had another shot go wide.
Spurs saw out the four minutes of added time, mostly in the Rangers' half, with Kane still chasing every ball.
I am already looking forward to next Sunday at Old Trafford, where Spurs surely have a good chance of making history with a third consecutive win. Such a win would put us level on points with the "Reds".
Harry Kane certainly gave "The Hoops" some stick today!
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