Huddersfield – Harry Kane rediscovered his scoring touch just in time to face Barcelona with two goals for Tottenhamin a routine 2-0 Premier League victory at bottom club Huddersfield.
The England centre-forward has struggled for goals since returning from the World Cup, scoring just once, from a penalty, in his previous six appearances for club and country.
However, he headed in Kieran Trippier’s cross in the 25th minute to set Mauricio Pochettino’s side on their way, and then added a penalty nine minutes later, when Florent Hadergjonaj was punished for tugging Danny Rose’s shirt.
The victory, Tottenham’s third in eight days if the midweek defeat of Watford on penalties in the League Cup is included, suggests they are getting back to form as they prepare to host Barcelona in the Champions League at Wembley on Wednesday.
It will have done much to lift club spirits too, given the hamstring injury suffered during the week by midfielder Dele Alli, who is expected to be out for around four weeks, although Spurs have yet to put a timescale on his return.
Christian Eriksen was absent too, with the abdominal injury he sustained during last Saturday’s 2-1 win at Brighton, although he is hopeful of facing Barcelona.
In any case, Kane’s form, allied to an impressive attacking performance from Lucas Moura, ensured that the absentees were not missed too much.
Huddersfield were warned of the danger in the opening 10 minutes, when Christopher Schindler misjudged the bounce of a Davinson Sanchez clearance, allowing Kane to race clear, but goalkeeper Jonas Lossl held his nerve and blocked with his feet.
The home side, who could have been behind even earlier than that had Rose not headed just wide from a Trippier cross, did not heed the lesson and were soon behind.
Terence Kongolo managed to hold up Lucas’s run, injuring himself in the process, but the Brazilian got to his feet and fed Trippier to cross for Kane to head in.
Kongolo was carried off on a stretcher, and his replacement, Hadergjonaj, was soon experiencing his own misfortune, as he was punished for a shirt tug on Rose inside the area. Kane sent Lossl the wrong way with the resulting penalty.
Huddersfield are struggling for goals, having scored just once at home in the league since February 11, but were out of luck at key times.
Chris Loewe’s sweet, swerving 25-yard shot, which came between Kane’s two first-half goals, was pushed aside by the alert Paulo Gazzaniga in the Tottenham goal.
Right on half-time, Laurent Depoitre met Erik Durm’s cross on the run with a volley that bounced out off the underside of the bar.
The second half rather petered out, with Lucas spurning two opportunities to score the goal his performance merited, first being denied by Lossl after wriggling into space, and then firing wide having won possession in midfield and charged for goal.
Huddersfield continued to labour without reward, with Gazzaniga gathering a low shot from Alex Pritchard and then watching Loewe bend a free-kick just wide, before making a fine late save at his near post to turn aside substitute Isaac Mbenz’s shot.