Tottenham 2-1 Fulham: Spurs hold to on to claim fourth win thanks to goals from Hojbjerg and Kane


Another game another record for Harry Kane, who is firmly in one of those grooves where he seems destined to emerge as the Tottenham hero no matter what.

Twice Spurs rattled the frame of the goal against Fulham, twice they scored goals ruled out for offside by the VAR and Bernd Leno held them at bay with a collection of fine saves.

Antonio Conte’s team dominated the game for long periods, with eye-catching performances from individuals in all areas and yet Fulham found a way back into the contest from two down.

Harry Kane scored Tottenham’s second as Spurs beat Fulham 2-1 in north London on Saturday

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg's first-half strike handed Tottenham a narrow 1-0 advantage at the break

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s first-half strike handed Tottenham a narrow 1-0 advantage at the break

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Spurs 3-4-3: Lloris 6.5; Romero 5, Dier 6, Lenglet 6.5; Royal 7, Hojbjerg 8, Bentancur 7.5, Sessegnon 6.5; Richarlison 7.5, Kane 7 (Kulusevski 78), Son 7.5 (Perisic 84).

Subs: Forster, Doherty, Skipp, Sanchez, Tanganga, Davies, Bissouma.

Goals: Hojbjerg 40, Kane 75

Bookings: Romero, Bentancur, Richarlison

Manager: Antonio Conte 7

Fulham 4-3-3: Leno 7.5; Tete 5, Adarabioyo 6, Ream 6, Robinson 6 (Mbabu 28, 5); Reed 7, Palhinha 6.5 (Vinicius 85), Pereira 5 (Cairney 61, 6); De Cordova-Reid 5 (James 61, 5), Mitrovic 6.5, Kebano 5 (Willian 61, 5).

Subs: Rodak, Duffy, Chalobah, Vinicius, Diop.

Goals: Mitrovic 83

Bookings: Tete, De Cordova-Reid, Palhinha, Mitrovic

Manager: Marco Silva 6

Referee: Stuart Attwell 6.5

Attendance: 61,641

Alexdandar Mitrovic scored a screamer and went close to an equaliser but with a certain air of inevitability, it Kane’s goal in the 75th minute that proved decisive and, with it he drew level with Thierry Henry at the top of the charts on 43 Premier League goals in London derbies.

‘I’m really pleased for the way Harry is playing,’ said Conte as Spurs extended their impressive start to the season.

‘He is fantastic technically and he works for the team, with and without the ball. Many times, players with talent ldidn’t like to work for the team without the ball. Only with the ball. Harry is a complete player and a world class striker.’

Tottenham produced some of their most fluent attacking football of the season during the opening half-hour. Leno saved from Kane and Son Heung-min had a goal ruled out.

Son’s swerving cross from a short corner routine bounced past Leno but Kane was offside as he tried to connect with a diving header and, although he made no contact, it was enough to deceive the goalkeeper.

Tim Ream deflected a shot from Son over but the home team lost its rhythm, disrupted following an ankle injury to Antonee Robinson, who required lengthy on-field treatment then tried to continue, only to go down again shortly afterwards.

Still, Fulham did not have substitute Kevin Mbabu ready to replace Robinson and for 10 minutes the ball was barely in play. The home crowd made their feelings clear when former Arsenal ‘keeper Leno called for the medics again.

Referee Stuart Attwell showed Kenny Tete a yellow card as he took an age to take a free-kick in a defensive position and added six minutes of stoppage time at the end of the first half.

During this disjointed phase of the game, Tottenham went close again. Son hit the bar, released by a Kane pass clipped over the centre-halves. Clement Lenglet glanced a header into the side-netting from a corner.

Lenglet was making his first start for Spurs, one of five changes by Conte after the midweek draw at West Ham. Richarlison started, there was a recall for Ryan Sessegnon and a return from injury for Cristian Romero and Rodrigo Bentancur.

Aleksandar Mitrovic scored his sixth goal of the season to inspire a late comeback for Fulham

Aleksandar Mitrovic scored his sixth goal of the season to inspire a late comeback for Fulham

The breakthrough they deserved came in the 40th minute. Hojbjerg linked up with Richarlison in a crowded penalty area and forced right-footed shot low past Leno.

Fulham offered more adventure after the interval. Hugo Lloris made a flying save to keep out a deflected effort by Mitrovic and Marco Silva made changes, including debuts for deadline signings Dan James, Willian and Carlos Vinicius.

As Nottingham Forest discovered last weekend, however, the danger of taking the game to Spurs is to play into the hands of their counter-attacking weapons.

Richarlison earned his first league start since moving from Everton for £60m this summer

Richarlison earned his first league start since moving from Everton for £60m this summer

Leno contained the score with saves to deny Richarlison, Ryan Sessegnon and Son, who was much livelier than he has been this season but last season’s Golden Boot winner is still searching for his first goal of this season.

Kane’s fifth of the campaign in the 75th minute with significant help from Sessegnon, who drove one effort against Tosin Adarabioyo, collected the rebound only to be foiled by Leno but the ‘keeper’s parry fell to Kane who converted from close range.

The goal survived a VAR check and Richarlison fired a volley against a post before Mitrovic became the first Fulham player to score in three successive Premier League games since former Tottenham favourite Dimitar Berbatov, in 2013.

Son Heung-min started again alongside Kane as Dejan Kulusevski was rested for Richarlison

Son Heung-min started again alongside Kane as Dejan Kulusevski was rested for Richarlison

It was the best goal of the game, a wonderful curler into the top corner after skipping easily past Romero, and his sixth of the Premier League campaign after smashing the Championship record with 43 last season.

Briefly, Spurs were gripped by anxiety. Lloris made a flying save to push away another Mitrovic curler destined for the top corner with the aid of a deflection.

‘It wasn’t our best performance,’ said boss Silva, who was particularly critical of his team in the first half, claiming they were ‘not dynamic at all’ and made ‘wrong decisions’ but knows with Mitrovic in this form there is always a chance.

‘He’s in a very good moment. If you create more and play at a different level he would have more chances. We must keep delivering for him because he has the ability to do it.’

There was still time for Richarlison to find the net for what would have been his first Tottenham goal. He whipped off his shirt in celebration and picked up a yellow card before discovering he was offside.

The goal did not count, the yellow card did and Kane was the match-winner once again.

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