May 13 (Reuters) – – TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 5 LEICESTER CITY 4
An end-of-season classic saw Tottenham say farewell to their temporary Wembley home by coming back from 3-1 down to beat Leicester City 5-4 and secure third place in the Premier League.
Appropriately, it was Harry Kane who delivered the final goal of Tottenham’s campaign, curling in his 30th of the league season to complete a dizzying afternoon of attacking football.
Kane, who ended the season two goals behind Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah as he just failed to claim a third successive Premier League Golden Boot, was also on target in the first half in which Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez put Leicester 2-1 ahead.
Kelechi Iheanacho’s stunning shot put Leicester two clear just after halftime but it provoked a furious Spurs response in which Erik Lamela struck twice either side of an own goal by Christian Fuchs, who deflected Lamela’s shot in off his knee.
Vardy, who will almost certainly be on the plane with Kane as part of England’s World Cup squad in Russia this summer, slammed in an equaliser for Leicester after a deft pass by Mahrez.
A draw would have dropped Tottenham below Liverpool into fourth spot but Kane enjoyed the last laugh in the battle of the England strikers when he cut in from the left to curl a trademark effort past Leicester keeper Eldin Jakupovic.
Tottenham, who have finished the season as London’s top team for the first time in 23 years, will begin life in their new 62,000-seater stadium as a Champions League club again.
Getting there for the third season in a row is a commendable feat by manager Mauricio Pochettino but he still awaits his first silverware.
The temporary move to the imposing national stadium was widely-expected to hamper Tottenham’s top-four ambitions at the start of the season but 14 wins, four draws and only two defeats there have underpinned their season.
As farewells go, Sunday’s clash was a humdinger.
“It was incredible — one of those games at the end of the season where both teams want to attack,” Kane said.
“It has been a good season with everything that has gone on with Wembley. The main aim was to qualify for the Champions League for next season.”
With Kane scoring 30 league goals — surpassing the 29 he got last season — and Salah bagging 32 for Liverpool it is the first Premier League season in which two players reached the 30-mark since Andy Cole and Alan Shearer in 1993-94.
While Kane showed a return to his razor-sharp best, Mahrez and Vardy revived memories of Leicester’s unlikely march to the title in 2016, although whether or not they will be linking up in blue shirts next season remains a doubt.
Manager Claude Puel’s future is also uncertain despite a solid ninth-placed finish.
“We should have won this game. It is crazy to lose this game when we scored four goals away,” he said.
“I make no comments about speculation around me. I try to keep my concentration on the team.”
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis)