Son Heung-Min caps Tottenham romp as Champions League return is sealed

·4 min read
<span>Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA</span>
Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA

A point is all that was required after Arsenal’s recent capitulation but Tottenham clinched Champions League qualification with a swagger as they swept aside hapless Norwich.

Tottenham were in disarray when Antonio Conte was appointed in November but he has masterminded a major revival to guide the team back into the top four. Eighth as recently as February, a run of nine wins in their final 11 matches sealed the bragging rights in north London and their place at the top table of European football next season.

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Spurs were in no mood to sit back at Carrow Road and their early pressure was rewarded with Dejan Kulusevski’s opener. Harry Kane profited from a dreadful defensive error before half-time, with the Tottenham fans revelling in the sunshine following their late season surge at the expense of rivals Arsenal.

The excellent Kulusevski curled in a classy third goal before Son Heung-Min’s persistence paid off with two quickfire efforts to share the Golden Boot with Mohamed Salah after scoring his 23rd goal of the season.

Kane was fit to lead the Spurs attack after recovering from illness during the buildup to the game. Conte’s only change to the team was Kulusevski’s return in place of Lucas Moura. The Norwich goalkeeper Tim Krul replaced Angus Gunn for the relegated team’s final match in the Premier League.

The first warning for Norwich should have resulted in the opening goal, after Kulusevski burst down the right wing, but his pass was wasted with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg thrashing the ball over the crossbar. Kane was given his first sight of goal but the England striker’s low shot floated straight into the arms of Krul.

Spurs’ early dominance continued with Norwich failing to clear the ball and Kane’s fierce strike, from an acute angle, was blocked by Krul.

The breakthrough finally arrived with Hojbjerg lofting a ball over the static defence and Rodrigo Bentancur teed up Kulusevski for a low finish into the net. It was a statement of intent from Spurs and the start of a very long afternoon for Norwich.

A loose pass from Eric Dier created a rare opening for the hosts midway through the half but Milot Rashica failed to capitalise after firing his low strike wide of Hugo Lloris’ near post.

Tottenham were handed a second goal when Krul failed to deal with Jacob Sorensen’s backpass and gave the ball to Bentancur. The midfielder provided his second assist of the game with his cross headed home by Kane for his 17 th league goal.

Ben Davies tested Krul before the break from distance but his strike was parried to safety.

Son had his first sight of a goal in the second half after being set up by Kane but the striker’s low shot was blocked by Krul. The pair combined again with Kane crossing for the South Korean forward but his close-range effort was expertly saved by Krul.

This was turning into a crusade to give Son the goal he needed but Kulusevski uncharacteristically fluffed his lines when he rounded the goalkeeper and unselfishly tried to play in their top scorer but his miscued pass was cleared.

Kulusevski took the more direct approach shortly afterwards and it paid off handsomely as he cut inside from the right and curled a supreme strike beyond the dive of Krul.

Son Heung-min scores Tottenham’s fourth at Carrow Road.
Son Heung-min scores Tottenham’s fourth at Carrow Road. Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA

Norwich, who were booed by their supporters during the post-match lap of the pitch, were desperately short on inspiration and Mathias Normann was unable to direct his fierce volley on target.

Son was denied again by the busy Krul but he would not be denied and applied the finish after Lucas Moura’s delicious flick from a Kane pass.

The relentless forward knew this was a huge opportunity, against a dejected team, and Son beautifully struck a 25-yard shot into the far corner to spark euphoric scenes in front of the Spurs fans after completing their East Anglian rout.

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