Tottenham's promise highlighted by Harry Kane's wonder goal as Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus put in the shade
Last season's Uefa Champions League runners-up are looking in good health for a strong 2019-20
A superb stoppage-time Harry Kane strike from inside the centre circle gave Tottenham Hotspur a 3-2 win over Juventus in humid Singapore on Sunday.
A day after Manchester United beat Inter Milan in front of Singapore’s packed National Stadium, another near sell-put of 50,433 witnessed Kane’s goal which came after Lucas Moura won the ball and it rolled into the path of the England captain.
“One of the best goals in my career,” said substitute Kane of the shot which lobbed former Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.
“I saw the keeper was off the line and thought I might have the chance to shoot in the last minute.”
It was not the first time that new Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt, who also came on as a substitute, had watched Spurs scored a late winner, having been part of the Ajax side beaten so dramatically in May in the Uefa Champions League semi-final by the London side.
“A great goal, unbelievable for Harry,” said Kane’s boss Mauricio Pochettino. “This type of situation happened because of the quality of the player.”
The strike gave Tottenham the win in the International Champions Cup clash and Pochettino was pleased with the display as well as the result in what was a difficult first game in their preparations for the 2019-20 season.
“To start the pre-season scoring and winning against Juventus, I’m happy with the performance,” he said, though also confessing he would have preferred an easier first opponent. “I am not a fan to play this type of game against a big team like Juventus so early in the pre-season.”
The Champions League finalists went ahead after 30 minutes when Son Heung-min drove forward, teed up 17-year-old Troy Parrott who shot against Gianluigi Buffon. But the ball ran loose for Erik Lamela to bundle the ball home.
Juventus hit back 10 minutes after half time and Gonzalo Higuain levelled things with a smart finish after a one-two with Federico Bernardeschi.
Higuain's goal had come from a move started by Cristiano Ronaldo and the Portuguese forward took centre stage four minutes later as he fired home from close range after good work from Mattia De Sciglio.
Ronaldo’s enthusiastic celebration won him even more friends in Singapore, where fans waited outside their team hotel beforehand for a glimpse of the superstar.
That was to be his last meaningful contribution to proceedings as he was substituted in the 63rd minute by new manager Maurizio Sarri.
Within 60 seconds Tottenham were level as Moura scored.
It looked as if it would end in a stalemate but Kane had the last word for Tottenham in a game between two sides both looking to be well set-up for the campaign ahead.
Juventus, who only arrived in Singapore 26 hours before the game, pride themselves on their extensive pre-season exertions so that they can be the fittest team in Italy.
Their players stay in a hotel in Turin rather than at home, they have a squad packed with top name players.
Ronaldo was their big name signing a year ago, this summer they brought in Aaron Ramsey, Adrien Rabiot, Luca Pellegrini, Cristian Romero and De Ligt while Buffon, 41, returned from Paris Saint-Germain.
Tottenham are in a good place. Champions League finalists, a superb new stadium, a talented coach and a settled squad that has seen the arrival of record signing Tanguy Ndombele from Lyon. He used his first touch to assist Moura’s equaliser.
It will be a surprise if Spurs finish outside the Premier League’s top four this season - that’s how far they have come since Pochettino took charge five years ago.
The Argentine is doing a fine job – in his eyes against bigger clubs.
“When you see the starting XI of Juventus you think ‘Oh my god’ - they have an amazing squad,” he said.
Despite their past success Pochettino is reserved when it comes to his expectations for what he thinks his players are capable of in the coming months.
“My position is to do the best, but look at our squad today with players aged 17, 18 and 19," he added.
"We will start another season with the tools that we are given. Our aim is to be regular like we reached the Champions League in the last four years and then make the difficult final step.
"Never in the history of the club have we done this (finished in the top four so often). When I arrived Arsenal was 21 years in a row above Tottenham. Now we are now fighting with the big clubs and that’s a massive challenge.”
Next up for Pochettino and his team is Manchester United on Thursday in Shanghai, while Juventus are also in China on Wednesday, going up against Inter Milan in Nanjing.
Updated: July 21, 2019 08:29 PM