Harry Kane’s missed penalty proved immaterial as Dele Alli scored twice for Tottenham in a 4-1 Premier League victory over 10-man Southampton on Wednesday.
The England striker had put Spurs in front with a headed goal after 52 minutes, Alli having earlier cancelled out Virgil van Dijk’s second-minute opener.
Kane then squandered an opportunity to put daylight between the teams when he fired a spot kick high into the upper reaches of the stand behind the goal.
Nathan Redmond was sent off for the challenge that led to Kane’s ill-fated effort from 12 yards, but it took Spurs until the last five minutes to finally put the match to bed.
Substitute Son Heung-min confidently swept a shot beyond Fraser Forster before Alli curled his second around the goalkeeper two minutes later.
The result sees fifth-placed Spurs close to within a point of north London rivals Arsenal, while Southampton head into their final fixture of 2016 in eighth.
Van Dijk showed no hint of being distracted by the transfer speculation surrounding him when he opened the scoring.
The Dutch defender rose highest to head home from a perfectly delivered James Ward-Prowse free-kick after a foul by former Saint Victor Wanyama on Ryan Bertrand.
Southampton continued to look most dangerous in attack, with Redmond drilling just wide after 15 minutes before Danny Rose denied the winger a shot inside the six-yard box with a desperate but effective challenge.
Jan Vertonghen went unpunished when his arm appeared to make contact with the face of Jay Rodriguez and Spurs were soon level through Alli.
A deflected Moussa Sissoko cross hung kindly for the England international, who beat Van Dijk to the ball and glanced it past flat-footed Forster.
The equaliser came against the run of play and marked the beginning of a more even period of play, as Southampton ceded the control they had enjoyed in the early stages.
Tottenham finished the half strongly and Wanyama danced through the Southampton defence only to be denied by a Jose Fonte block before the break.
It took Spurs just seven minutes of the second half to move in front – another header saw Kane divert a whipped Christian Eriksen delivery beyond Forster.
The striker was presented with a golden opportunity to double his personal tally five minutes later, when Redmond was judged to have clumsily brought down Alli in the box to earn a red card and concede a penalty.
But Kane cleared the crossbar with his spot-kick before casting a frustrated glance in the direction of the piece of turf from which he had launched the ball into the stratosphere.
The miss was just Kane’s second unsuccessful penalty in 12 attempts in the Premier League – and he scored from the rebound after the first.
Eriksen rattled the crossbar as another chance came and went, but Spurs netted a late double through Son and Alli to put the result beyond doubt.
Key Opta stats:
– Harry Kane ended a run of 344 minutes without a goal in the Premier League with his strike in this match.
– Kane also missed a penalty – only the second time he has missed a Premier League penalty (from 12 taken) and ended a run of nine successive PL penalties scored for the England striker.
– Mike Dean has awarded the most penalties (10) and given the most red cards (4) in the Premier League this season.
– Dele Alli made his 50th Premier League appearance in this match for Spurs. At 20 years & 261 days old, he is the fourth youngest to play 50 times in the PL for the club after Aaron Lennon, Sol Campbell and Nicky Barmby.
– Alli’s first goal was the first that Southampton have conceded at home in the Premier League in five hours and 24 minutes of action.
– Spurs have won 71 points from 37 games in 2016 – this is their highest tally in a calendar year in the Premier League era.
– This was the first time that Southampton have conceded four goals in a Premier League home game since November 1998 (1-4 v Aston Villa).
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