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AFP
September 21, 2020

‘On fire’ Son hits four as Spurs rout Saints

Sports

AFP
September 21, 2020

SOUTHAMPTON, United Kingdom: Jose Mourinho hailed “on fire” Son Heung-min after the South Korean destroyed Southampton with a four-goal blitz as Tottenham powered to a 5-2 victory at St Mary’s on Sunday.

Just 24 hours after Tottenham signed Gareth Bale, Son delivered a virtuoso display that showed Mourinho’s side already have plenty of firepower.

Bale has returned to Tottenham on a season-long loan from Real Madrid seven years after he left the north London club for a then world record £85 million ($109 million) fee.

But the Wales forward will not be available until mid-October as he recovers from a knee injury, so Mourinho needs Son and Harry Kane to carry the attack until then.

No one would question the quality of that pair and they underlined the point with superb performances that ripped Southampton to pieces.

Danny Ings put Southampton ahead in the first half, but Son equalised before the break and scored three more in the second half.

Kane, who hit the back of the net twice in the first half only to have them ruled out for offside, capped a swaggering display with his second goal of the season.

“Son was on fire and for me Harry Kane was the man of the match, what he did for the team,” Mourinho said.

“Some people think the striker is to score goals but the striker is to give a big dynamic to the attacking organisation.

“With him dropping back and connecting the game between the lines for Sonny to attack, the space they created was a problem they couldn’t resolve.”

After losing to Everton in their Premier League opener last weekend, Tottenham have lifted the gloom with this vibrant second half performance after the Bale coup.

Dele Alli was left out of Tottenham’s squad and Mourinho raised fresh questions about the midfielder’s future when asked if he wanted him to stay.

“I want a balanced squad, that’s what I want. No he doesn’t need to be sacrificed, but the squad is a puzzle,” Mourinho said.

“I’m not responsible for the market. I don’t know how to answer your question in relation to that.

“The only thing I can say is that I left eight players behind. They stayed and trained this morning because they are a big group and Dele is amongst these players.”

Alli wasn’t missed thanks to Son and Kane’s heroics.

Tottenham were playing the second of five games in 10 days, an unrelenting schedule that Mourinho had derided as “crazy” and initially they looked fatigued.

Ings had a goal disallowed for handball and Moussa Djenepo hit the outside of the post.

Running onto Kyle Walker-Peters’ long pass, Ings displayed his astute movement as he got in behind Eric Dier, then demonstrated his predatory instincts by guiding his shot into the far corner in the 32nd minute.

Tottenham equalised against the run of play in first half stoppage-time.

Tanguy Ndombele picked out Kane on the left and the striker’s cross reached Son, who ignored the acute angle to clip a sublime finish past Alex McCarthy.

Son’s goal was a huge boost to Tottenham’s morale and they took the lead with a well-crafted goal two minutes after half-time.

Son surged onto Kane’s pass and calmly guided a precise strike past McCarthy.

Dropping deep to devastating effect, Kane was the provider again in the 64th minute with a superb lofted pass and Son finished in emphatic fashion.

Another deft pass from Kane in the 73rd minute picked out the South Korean, who was never going to miss from close-range.

Kane and Son have now combined for more Premier League goals (24) than any other duo in the competition since August 2015.

Kane got the goal he deserved with a close-range finish in the 82nd minute before Ings netted again with a 90th minute penalty.