Harry Kane didn’t have a memorable Champions League campaign last season, so he knows the onus is on him to set the record straight this year.
With Tottenham handed the worst draw of the English sides, being placed alongside both Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund, the pressure is on the Spurs talisman to produce the performances that would take his side into the knockout stages.
The 24-year-old ratcheted up the pressure on himself ahead of Wednesday night’s game against Dortmund, saying he wants to “break into that world-class bracket” and acknowledging that this meant playing well in the Champions League. And then, he delivered.
Two supremely well-taken goals in an all-action display saw Kane lead Spurs to a 3-1 victory over Dortmund, banishing memories of last year’s European performances and all talk of a Wembley curse.
Here’s an in-depth look at how Kane played on Wednesday.
Goals – 2
Assists – 1
Shots – 6
Dribbles – 2
Passes – 13
Key passes – 4
Pass Accuracy – 72%
Touches – 42
Aerials Won – 2
There was a hunger about Kane’s play on Wednesday. It showed in his goals, in the way he celebrated them – with a look of hunger and desire on his face – and in the way he took responsibility for his team.
The Englishman was everywhere. His movement and strength were too much for the Dortmund defence to handle as he dominated in the air, dropped back to set up team-mates, pulled the defenders wide, and found space to get in behind.
Not to mention, he was often the first line of defence during Dortmund’s set-pieces, a role he performed with as much relish as his goal-scoring duties.
15th min: A goal that epitomised Kane. He won the initial header, held off a defender to get a run in on goal, then caught Dortmund keeper Roman Burki out with an early strike.
60th min: Kane’s left is definitely his weaker foot, but he scores enough number of left-footed goals to make people temporarily forget that. Picking up a pass from Christian Eriksen, the English man hit a precise strike into the far corner to put Spurs in control.
87th min: A moment that showed exactly how much Kane wanted to put in a good performance in this game. He saw his number come up on the substitutes’ board and put up his hand almost as if to wave it away, then urged his teammates to play the ball forward quickly so that he’d have one last chance to score and complete a hat-trick. It wasn’t to be and Fernando Llorente replaced him at the next stoppage in play, but it showed that Kane was desperate to grace this occasion with a memorable display.
Our verdict: 9/10
In all honesty, Kane probably should have had a hat-trick, as he missed a couple of chances to get a third goal. And that’s probably the only knock on his performance on the night. Otherwise, the Englishman was sublime, and went a long way in backing up his talk about showing that he wants to join the bracket of world-class players.