Match report: Spurs 3-0 Pacos de Ferreira: Kane brace seals Conference League group stage

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UEFA Europa Conference League
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Harry Kane scored twice after announcing he will be staying at Tottenham this season, as Nuno Espirito Santo’s side overcame Pacos de Ferreira 3-1 on aggregate to qualify for the group stage of the Europa Conference League. 

The England talisman was entrusted with the captain’s armband by Nuno just one day since confirming his intentions to stay N17 this season. 

Spurs supporters inside Tottenham Hotspur Stadium made their feelings known towards that decision, ensuring they gave the 28-year-old a rousing reception as his name was read out before the game.

Their support was quickly repaid after Kane opened the scoring on nine minutes, before he secured his double in the 35th minute. 

A comfortable affair in north London was rounded off by Giovani Lo Celso, whose deflected free-kick midway through the second half ensured Spurs overturned the 1-0 first-leg deficit suffered in Portugal.

Knowing they trailed by a goal, Spurs started fast out the blocks and almost took the lead through captain Kane just 30 seconds into proceedings. He latched onto Cristian Romero’s lofted ball, but the forward lifted his effort just over the crossbar. 

It was just the start of how the evening was going to pan out, with Spurs looking to put last Thursday’s disappointing performance behind them.

The hosts continued to press for that all-important opener, and found the breakthrough nine minutes in. Harry Winks played a deft pass over the Pacos backline which Bryan Gil latched onto, who cut the ball back for Kane to slot past Andre Ferreira. 

It was a moment that Spurs supporters met with sheer delight following this summer’s uncertainty, after many weren’t sure if Kane would appear in a Lilywhite shirt again.

Kane then almost turned from scorer to provider moments later, clipping a ball into the area which just evaded a stretching Ryan Sessegnon.

Summer signing Gil was proving to be a tricky presence for the Pacos defence, who sat deeper and deeper as the match proceeded. The Spaniard came agonisingly close to notching his first Spurs goal on 34 minutes, striking the woodwork from distance via a large deflection. 

Just seconds later, though, Kane recorded his second of the night. Lo Celso charged down a loose pass from keeper Ferreira, with the ball falling to the Spurs talisman in the box to coolly slot away. 

Although the tie looked to be getting away from Pacos following one-way first half, the visitors came out in the second period in control of the early possession. 

Left-back Antunes was getting some more joy down Spurs’ right and continued to throw in a number of teasing crosses, which were snuffed out by Romero and partner Eric Dier. 

Spurs then settled back into their usual dominance, and the game was almost put out of Pacos’ reach by Lo Celso on 65 minutes. He latched onto Matt Doherty’s cut back, but saw his effort in stopped by Ferreira after swivelling in the box. 

Gil came close to adding a third seconds later after being slipped in behind by Romero, but saw his effort flash just wide of the post. 

But Spurs eventually found that insurance goal 20 minutes from time through Lo Celso’s whipped free-kick. The Argentine’s effort caught a slight nick off of Antunes, which almost certainly helped its way past Ferreira.

Kane was denied further opportunity to grab his hat-trick, but was replaced by Heung-min Son to a standing ovation from the Spurs faithful with just over 15 minutes remaining. 

The Korean almost made an instant impact after being slipped in by Lo Celso, but could only poke his effort wide past the onrushing Ferreira, who did just enough to put him off.

Fellow substitute Steven Bergwijn almost got in on the act with a fine solo effort, avoiding several challenges into the box before thumping a shot against the post. 

With less than ten minutes remaining, it was Son’s turn to his the upright after being played through by Lo Celso, which was tipped onto the post by Ferreira. 

But that would be it for the home side, who would eventually cruise their way into the Europa Conference League group stage after a minor blip. 

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