Kane strikes historic hat-trick as rampant Spurs hammer Southampton

Reuters
The goal took him to 55 for club and country in 2017 – lifting him above Messi, who has 54 goals this year but can't catch Kane as Barcelona doesn't play again until 2018.
Reuters
Reuters

Striker Harry Kane scores Tottenham Hotspur's first goal against Southampton during their English Premier League match at the Wembley Stadium in London on December 26, 2017. Kane scored a hat-trick as Spurs won 5-2.

Harry Kane rounded off a sensational 2017 by scoring a record number of English Premier League goals and hat-tricks in a calendar year, as well as toppling Lionel Messi as the top scorer in Europe as a rampant Tottenham Hotspur thrashed Southampton 5-2 on Tuesday.

The England striker followed up his treble over Burnley on Saturday by heading in a Christian Eriksen free kick in the 22nd minute for his 37th league goal of 2017, beating Alan Shearer’s 22-year-old record for the most goals in England’s top flight in a calendar year.

“It was hard not to think about it going into the game being level,” Kane said. “As always, I wanted to win the game first and foremost but of course I wanted to score as a striker. To get that goal early on and get that record was a great feeling and I could enjoy the rest of the game.”

Kane then overtook Messi as the top scorer of the year in Europe for club and country by tapping in Son Heung-min’s low cross in the 39th. He also became the first player in seven years outside of Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to finish top scorer in the continent.

The goal took him to 55 for club and country in 2017 — lifting him above Barcelona’s Messi, who has 54 goals this year but can’t catch Kane as the Catalans don’t play again until 2018.

“I think both achievements are massive,” said Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino.

“He beats Shearer then if you see the list of the last seven years it’s Cristiano and Messi, today it’s a player from Tottenham. We feel this achievement also belongs to us, it’s fantastic for Harry, he wanted to share that happiness with all of us.”

In the second half, Kane scored his side’s fifth goal of the game to become the first player to hit six EPL hat-tricks in one year.

“For me he is world class, Messi and Ronaldo have different characteristics, but if you think about a striker in his position, who is better than him?” Pochettino added when asked if Kane could be compared to the Portuguese and the Argentine.

“It’s difficult to say who is the best but he has showed everyone that he is one of the best.”

Other high-scoring EPL stars over a calendar year include Robin van Persie, who notched 35 for Arsenal in 2011, and Thierry Henry, who struck 34 times for Arsenal in 2004.

Impressive strikes from Dele Alli and Son had further stretched Tottenham’s lead in the second half, while Sofiane Boufal hit back for struggling Southampton to make it 4-1, before the relentless Kane struck once again with a classy chipped finish over Fraser Forster in the 67th.

Substitute Dusan Tadic got another consolation goal for the visitors, who are 13th on 19 points and only three clear of the relegation zone. Spurs provisionally climbed up to fourth on 37 points, although Liverpool could overtake them again if the Reds beat Swansea City later Tuesday.

Southampton was without top scorer Charlie Austin following a suspension for violent conduct, while coach Mauricio Pellegrino again left defender Virgil van Dijk out of the squad.

The Argentine had to face the away supporters calling him for him to be sacked during the game, and he criticized his players for their attitude.

“I want to see a team with character fighting and playing for the ball,” he said.

“Sometimes you do well, sometimes you do not but the minimum is to show this from the beginning. The wrong thing is we waited until the Tottenham goal to react.”

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