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Tottenham 5-1 Shakhtar: Kane nets four in comprehensive friendly win

If this was Kane’s last match, he sure said goodbye in style!

Tottenham Hotspur v Shakhtar Donetsk - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Vince Mignott/MB Media/Getty Images

You love to see it. In what very well could be Harry Kane’s final appearance in a Tottenham Hotspur shirt, he put on a performance for the home fans. Spurs hosted Shakhtar Donetsk in a charity friendly for the visitors, but they certainly weren’t accommodating hosts on the pitch. Harry Kane scored four goals and young academy graduate Dane Scarlett added a fifth with the last kick of the game as Spurs rolled to a 5-1 win at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Coming off of the Lion City Sailors match in Singapore, there were two big questions: 1) would Harry Kane play knowing there’s a potential €100m+ transfer to Bayern Munich in the works, and 2) would Spurs be able to carry forward their dominant performance from tour against a real European team? The answer to both was a resounding yes. Spurs were decisive and incisive with the ball again today, constantly looking to push forward, pressing high, and keeping the vast majority of possession.

They looked a little fragile at times on the counter, and Shakhtar’s only goal was from a well taken cross that split the center backs for an open header. Keeper Guglielmo Vicario in truth had in truth little do and came up big late with a couple of good saves.

Ange Postecoglou gave significant minutes to the majority of his starting XI in this match, though there were a few late substitutions including Scarlett whose goal was the cherry on top of this very fun football Sunday sundae.

Here are my match reactions.

Match reactions

First Half

  • This was a match at Spurs’ stadium, but it felt like a Shakhtar home match. The Ukrainian national anthem was sung before the match, there were Ukrainian flags everywhere, and a touching moment for Shakhtar legend Andrej Piatov who was subbed off after 15 minutes in goal in what was probably his final appearance.
  • Ange-Ball was in full effect early. High press, fast vertical passing, fully inverted FBs. It sure looked fun. It was fun! Enjoyable half.
  • Sarr and Maddison both were exceptional in that half. Sarr was incisive, progressive, and was really looking for shots. Had two good chances saved and probably should’ve turned his late header in. Maddison was just outstanding at every level. Great on the ball, good passing, good movement in and around the box, won a penalty. God, he’s good in this system.
  • The verticality is just so much fun. Every time a midfielder gets the ball they’re looking for a progressive pass up the field or into the box. It’s noticeable and gives me so much joy.
  • Maybe it’s just me but the inverted fullbacks (Royal, Udogie) were really screwing up my viewing, as I’m just not used to those players being in the places they are at times. Royal in the center circle? Weird! Gonna take a while to get used to that.
  • Son and Deki both seemed to struggle a little bit in their role as more traditional wingers. They’re both good outlets but I think it’s been difficult for them to operate as more wide creators than shooters. A couple of decent moments from both of them (Son in particular) but it’s noticeable that they’re not cutting inside as much.
  • I still think the best Premier League teams are going to press us high and cause the defense a lot of trouble on the counter. You could see glimmers of that danger in this first half on the rare times Shakhtar got forward. Route 1 could be a dangerous road for Tottenham this season. Hopefully Micky van de Ven helps with that.
  • Shakhtar’s goal was just a simple ball into the box that split the central defenders. Nothing Elmo could really do about it. Kinda one you just throw up your hands and say “Welp!”

Second Half

  • No changes for Ange at halftime as he opted to get additional minutes in the players’ legs.
  • Kane’s second goal was taken very well, but Maddison’s cross to the back post was even better. Notable that Kane was finally crashing the box instead of dropping deep to receive the ball and getting in the way of the midfielders.
  • Kane’s third though? My word, that was a sexy team goal. Fantastic forward pass from Son to Deki, a lovely little cutback to find Kane who made the late run, BANG. Hat trick.
  • I’m gonna get yelled at for this especially in a match where Kane scored four goals, but I couldn’t help but notice that Kane’s propensity for dropping deep at times really gummed up Spurs’ Ange-ball engine. This isn’t really a pejorative and that isn’t to say that Spurs can’t make it work with him — clearly they can and did — but it’s more evidence that while he’s an outstanding player and you obviously want him on your team, he’s still a bit of a weirdly-shaped jigsaw in these tactics.
  • It wouldn’t be a Tottenham match without a shithouse foul from Cuti Romero. He knew it too. What a king.
  • I expected Udogie to be exciting but boy he’s REALLY exciting to watch. And perhaps unexpectedly for a guy we signed to be a wingback he’s been really good in the inverted FB role.
  • Deki turned things around a lot in this match. Still seemed hesitant on the ball in the first half, but I’m not sure anyone had more shots than he did, and he’s still a ball of energy out there.
  • So, so, so happy for Dane Scarlett. He really needed that jolt of confidence after a pretty miserable loan. He’s a real talent and while there just aren’t minutes for him this season I hope he’s loaned out again and he can really turn a corner this season.
  • Now let’s go smash Barcelona and get REALLY excited for this coming season.
  • Feel free to use this article to chat about the Community Shield.