Harry Kane scored a hat-trick as Tottenham maintained their 100% start in the Champions League with victory over Apoel Nicosia.
Kane – who also scored twice in Spurs’ opening win over Borussia Dortmund – put his side ahead in the 39th minute, slotting into the bottom-left corner from Toby Alderweireld’s pass.
The England striker then calmly stroked in Moussa Sissoko’s cross from the edge of the penalty area in the 62nd minute to double the lead.
He completed his hat-trick five minutes later with a header into the bottom corner.
Kane’s three goals were Tottenham’s first three shots on target in the match, and Mauricio Pochettino’s side were lucky not to concede earlier.
Apoel hit the crossbar through Igor de Camargo’s fierce shot in the 19th minute, while Hugo Lloris was forced into two smart saves after the break with the score 1-0.
But Kane’s clinical performance was the difference and he has now scored six hat-tricks in 2017 and five goals in the Champions League this season.
The win takes Tottenham level on points with Real Madrid at the top of Group H and importantly six points clear of Borussia Dortmund, who lost at home against Real.
Kane inspires depleted Spurs
Tottenham were without key players Dele Alli and Jan Vertonghen through suspension, as well as the ill Christian Eriksen, for their trip to Cyprus but Kane ensured Spurs did not slip up against the side expected to be the weakest in the group.
His hat-trick was a ‘perfect’ one – his first goal coming with his left foot, the second his right foot and third with his head.
Although different in their finishes, Kane’s goals were alike in the way he showed uncanny composure to score from Spurs’ only clear chances on the night.
There has been plenty of debate as to whether Kane is world class but he has now scored six goals in his past four games in Europe’s elite club competition.
The England striker has also scored 11 goals for club and country this month, having failed to score in August.
After the match he rightfully paid tribute to the excellent delivery for each of his goals from Alderweireld, Sissoko and Kieran Trippier, but this was Kane’s night.
Improved Spurs strongly placed in Group H
Last season’s Champions League campaign was one of frustration for Spurs as they finished third behind Monaco and Bayer Leverkusen and only won two of their six matches.
But this season Tottenham have as many wins in two matches and sit in prime position in the group as they look to reach the knockout stage for the first time since 2010-11.
They now face back-to-back champions Real Madrid in consecutive games, firstly at the Bernabeu on 17 October.
Spurs still have to travel to Dortmund to play the current Bundesliga leaders but they will do so knowing they would likely progress with a draw at Westfalenstadion, were they to repeat their victory over Apoel at home.
The north London club have an identical record to Real Madrid after two games and, with Kane in his current form, may well fancy their chances against a side who have only taken 11 points from 18 in La Liga.
Source: BBC Sport