Ludogorets 1 – 3 Tottenham. Kane, 27, long-since cemented his place in the Spurs history books but few could have predicted his prodigious goalscoring rate when he came into the first team seven years ago. Harry Kane marked his 300th appearance for Tottenham with his 200th goal as Jose Mourinho’s side dominated a Europa League mismatch in Bulgaria.
Only 1960s legends Jimmy Greaves and Bobby Smith stand ahead of him in the club’s records and if he stays fit – and at the club – the England captain looks set to break record after record.
He could, and should, have already scored twice when he headed in a Lucas Moura corner to put Mourinho’s side ahead against Ludogorets. Kane then set up Moura for Spurs’ second before being replaced at the interval as the Premier League side utterly dominated the multiple Bulgarian champions.
Mourinho was furious last week with his side’s insipid display in Antwerp and was rewarded with a controlled, ruthless first-half performance, but the hosts were able to reply early in the second half through Claudiu Keseru.
That was an anomaly though, as Giovani lo Celso’s tap-in secured a routine victory that puts Spurs back in contention in Group J. Two hundred in 300 games, 101 in his last 135, 100 away from home – Kane’s goalscoring record bears comparison with the all-time greats.
Next in his sights at Tottenham is 1961 double-winner Smith, who scored 208 times between 1955 and 1964, with overall record holder Greaves at least another season away on 266.
The Ludogorets defence had no answer to Kane’s ability, but did see an uncharacteristic early miss with the striker blazing over after a fine pass from Harry Winks.
Kane then thumped the post from 25 yards but wiped the frustration from his face when he beat Gareth Bale to a corner to head in goal number 200 – 3,248 days after number one against Shamrock Rovers.
Mourinho is blessed with attacking talent this season, illustrated as Son Heung-min set up the third for Lo Celso just 17 seconds after coming on.
Bale showed promising signs of reaching full sharpness, starting the move for Moura’s goal and going close with a dipping free-kick, while Kane’s replacement Carlos Vinicius was raw but dangerous.
Steven Bergwijn also came on and Dele Alli was left on the sidelines as Spurs cruised to a needed win in the group. Mourinho won the trophy with Manchester United in his only other Europa League campaign – could Tottenham end their silverware drought in Gdansk next May?
- Tottenham picked up only their second away win in their last 10 away Europa League matches (W2 D2 L6).
- Ludogorets have lost their last five Europa League matches, their worst ever losing run in the competition.
- Tottenham’s Harry Kane is the top scoring Premier League player in all competitions this season, netting 12 goals in 13 appearances, with only Robert Lewandowski scoring as many for a team in Europe’s top five leagues (also 12 for Bayern Munich).
- Harry Kane has been directly involved in 22 goals in just 13 appearances in all competitions for Spurs this season (12 goals, 10 assists).
- Including qualifiers, Jose Mourinho has won 15 of his 21 matches in the Europa League with Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur (71% – W15 D3 L3).
- Ludogorets striker Claudiu Keseru has been directly involved in 12 goals in 15 Europa League group stage starts (10 goals, 2 assists).
Source – BBC News