London (AFP) – Son Heung-min was hailed as a hero after scoring Tottenham’s winner against Manchester City, putting them in the driving seat in their Champions League quarter-final after a match overshadowed by another Harry Kane injury.
The South Korean forward scored past City goalkeeper Ederson in the 78th minute on Tuesday to give Spurs a narrow 1-0 advantage to take into next week’s return leg at the Etihad Stadium.
The home side, playing just the second match in their gleaming new stadium, survived an early penalty, awarded after a VAR review, with Hugo Lloris diving to his left to deny Sergio Aguero.
The Times lauded the match-winner and said “Spurs have survived without Kane in the past partly because of Son’s expertise”.
The Daily Mail’s chief sports writer Martin Samuel said Son comes into his own when Spurs top-scorer Kane is missing.
“The only person at Tottenham who does not seem to miss Harry Kane is Son Heung-min,” he said.
“No sooner had the talisman disappeared than Son stepped up to win the game. It was the same when Kane was injured earlier in the season. Son hit the form of his life.”
The South Korean forward shone when Kane missed a chunk of games earlier this year, scoring four goals in four games to keep Tottenham on track for a top-four finish in the Premier League and helping them reach the Champions League last eight.
Samuel said it was unlikely the England captain would make the second leg in Manchester next Wednesday, which was a “giant blow” for Tottenham.
But the Guardian said Son showed that Spurs could prosper without Kane, who limped off after a challenge with England teammate Fabian Delph shortly before the hour mark.
“When Kane is rusty or easing his way back he moves less without the ball,” it said. “He creates a static point at the front of the team, whereas Son is a different kind of player to this half-fit Kane, quicker and more likely to dribble or power on behind the last defender.
“In a way Kane’s likely absence now is a curious kind of plus point for the second leg of this tie. With Son’s speed at the head of the team they will always carry a threat on the counterattack. City will surely play better than this next week. But even without their captain it is advantage Tottenham.”
The Sun said the South Korean forward had made Spurs’ new stadium his own, having scored their first goal there against Crystal Palace last week.
“Son is writing the Tottenham Opus, starting with the first goal at White Hart Lane 2.0 against Crystal Palace to the first Champions League strike,” it said.
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