London (AFP) – Harry Kane banished Tottenham’s Wembley curse as the England striker’s double sealed a 3-1 win over Borussia Dortmund in their Champions League opener on Wednesday.
With White Hart Lane being redeveloped, Tottenham are playing their home matches at the English national stadium this season and that had been bad news for Mauricio Pochettino’s side.
Already scarred by damaging Wembley defeats in the Champions League and FA Cup semi-finals last term, Tottenham had lost to Chelsea and drawn with Burnley this season, sparking alarmist talk that they were jinxed at the hallowed north London venue.
But, after losing eight of their previous 12 matches at Wembley, Kane’s predatory finishing ensured Tottenham finally enjoyed a night to remember in their temporary lodgings.
Son Heung-Min’s first goal of the season put Tottenham ahead early on and, although Andriy Yarmolenko conjured a sublime equaliser, it was the hosts who possessed the killer instinct thanks to Kane’s latest heroics.
The on-form Kane, who scored twice in Saturday’s win at Everton, restored Tottenham’s advantage before the interval and wrapped up the victory with his second goal after half-time.
Pitted in a tricky group that also includes holders Real Madrid, Tottenham’s commanding display secured only their third win in 13 Wembley appearances and gave them an early boost in the battle for a place in the knockout stages.
The only blemish for Tottenham was a late sending off for a second bookable offence for Jan Vertonghen, who swung his forearm into Mario Gotze’s face.
Dortmund arrived in London unbeaten so far this season, but their squad had been ravaged by injuries, with Marco Reus, Raphael Guerreiro, Andre Schurrle and Marcel Schmelzer among the key players sidelined.
It took Tottenham just four minutes to expose the fault lines in Dortmund’s under-strength line-up as Son scored a fine individual goal.
Set free down the left flank, Son drove into the penalty area unchecked by Dortmund’s defence and, with goalkeeper Roman Burki failing to guard his near post, the South Korean smashed a powerful strike into the roof of the net.
If that seemed like the perfect way for Tottenham to banish their Wembley angst, the positives vibes lasted just seven minutes.
– Carbon copy –
When Yarmolenko played a one-two with Shinji Kagawa out on the right wing, there appeared little danger, but the Ukrainian darted on to the return pass and hit a superb curling effort over Hugo Lloris and into the far corner.