With two classic center forward’s finishes, Harry Kane showed he is not suffering any lasting effects from his World Cup disappointment with England.
It’s now three goals in three Premier League games for Tottenham since returning from Qatar after his double in a 4-0 win over Crystal Palace on Wednesday.
Kane has had to shoulder the burden of missing a late penalty in England’s 2-1 loss to France in the quarterfinals on Dec. 10.
Back with Tottenham, he scored in the 2-2 draw with Brentford on the first day of the league’s resumption and added two more against Palace – a header at the back post and an emphatic low finish into the bottom corner.
It was a reminder, not that it was really needed, of Kane’s opportunism in front of goal and brought some respite for his manager, Antonio Conte, who was pessimistic about his team’s top-four chances after a 2-0 loss to Aston Villa on Sunday.
The win over Palace moved fifth-place Tottenham five points clear of sixth-place Liverpool, and two points behind both Newcastle and Manchester United, who are in third and fourth, respectively. United has a game in hand.
Matt Doherty and Son Heung-min also scored at Selhurst Park, with all goals coming in the space of 24 minutes in the second half.
At the other end of the standings, Southampton is two points adrift in last place after a 1-0 home loss against Nottingham Forest, which moved out of the relegation zone.
Taiwo Awoniyi scored in the 27th minute at St. Mary’s to earn Forest’s first away win of the season. The team climbed three places to 15th.
Southampton has lost all four of its league games since Nathan Jones was hired as manager as the replacement for the fired Ralph Hasenhuttl on Nov. 10. There were loud jeers at the final whistle.
A tearful Leon Bailey had to be helped off the ground after the final whistle after his glaring late miss for Aston Villa in its 1-1 draw with next-to-last Wolverhampton.
Bailey rounded goalkeeper Jose Sa after being played through by Danny Ings, Villa’s scorer, but mishit a shot that bobbled wide of the goal. The Jamaica international slumped to the ground at fulltime and was eventually applauded off the field at Villa Park by home fans as Bailey covered his face with his jersey.
Daniel Podence scored in the 12th minute for Wolverhampton. Ings came on as a substitute and equalized in the 78th when he split two defenders and ran onto a ball over the top from Tyrone Mings before beating Sa.
Wolves stayed in next-to-last place but is now two points ahead of Southampton.
TRIBUTE TO GOLD
West Ham played hours after the announcement of the death of its co-chairman, David Gold, and drew 2-2 at Leeds.
Both teams wore black armbands as a mark of respect for Gold, who died at the age of 86 after a short illness.
Rodrigo salvaged a point for Leeds, powering home his 10th league goal of the season midway through the second half.
The Hammers were on course for their first league win since October after goals either side of halftime – via Lucas Paqueta’s penalty and Gianluca Scamacca’s strike – had canceled out teenager Wilfried Gnonto’s opener for Leeds.
The Hammers halted a run of five straight league defeats but are in fourth-to-last place and only out of the relegation zone on goal difference. Leeds is three points higher in 14th place.
Steve Douglas is at https://twitter.com/sdouglas80
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