With inputs from Associated Press
In their opening game of the Premier League season, a Harry Kane-less Tottenham Hotspur scripted a monumental 1-0 win over defending champion Manchester City, thanks to a second-half winner from Son Heung-min on Sunday.
With Kane left out of Tottenham’s team altogether amid continued speculation about a pending move to City, Son led Spurs’ attack instead and showed that the North London were still capable enough to challenge the top clubs.
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Although the Sky Blues enjoyed all the possession, Tottenham’s cohesive defence controlled the game and didn’t allow City’s forward line to create clear cut chances.
In the 55th minute, Son finished off a quick counterattack and Tottenham capped off their first match under new manager Nuno Espirito Santo with a statement victory.
Kane’s absence was the big pregame talking point, although Nuno insisted the decision was made solely because the England striker only returned to full training on Friday after his holiday.
Kane has reportedly told Tottenham he wants to leave, with City manager Pep Guardiola previously acknowledging that his club is “very interested” in buying him, according to Associated Press inputs.
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And a finisher like Harry Kane could be exactly what City needs as on Sunday clearly seemed like a side lacking any central figure upfront. Guardiola lined up Ferran Torres as a ‘false 9’ but the Spaniard and the players around him failed to create the impact they were expected to.
City’s record signing Jack Grealish showed early flashes of his abilities — breaking forward in the opening minutes to draw a free-kick just outside the area — but missed his best chance to score when his shot from a tight angle was easily saved by Hugo Lloris in the 75th.
Riyad Mahrez had City’s best chance of the game in the 35th when he met a cross from Raheem Sterling but shot wide after failing to cleanly connect with the ball.
Building up for the goal, Son collected the ball down the right flank, drove at defender Nathan Ake and then cut inside to bend a low shot inside the far post. Steven Bergwijn, who himself failed to convert a great chance to double the lead just before the hour mark, set up the South Korea international for the eventual goal.