Kane ignites Golden Boot bid as Spurs draw 1-1 at Brighton
ABS-CBN Sports on Apr 18, 2018 08:29 AM
FILE - Tottenham's Harry Kane applauds the supporters at the end of the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge stadium in London, Sunday, April 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
BRIGHTON, England (AP) — Harry Kane ignited his bid to reel in Mohamed Salah in the race to finish top scorer in the Premier League by grabbing his 26th goal of the season in Tottenham's 1-1 draw at Brighton on Tuesday.
With four games left, the striker moved to within four goals of Salah, who may yet miss some matches in the run-in because of Liverpool's involvement in the semifinals — and maybe final — of the Champions League.
Kane has won the Golden Boot the past two years, and finished last season with seven goals in his last two games.
The England international benefited from determined work near the byline by Son Heung-min to drive in a shot that deflected into the net in the 48th minute, enlivening a game that failed to sparkle in the first half at Amex Stadium.
Brighton equalized within two minutes, with playmaker Pascal Gross converting a penalty following Serge Aurier's trip on Jose Izquierdo. The foul happened just 18 seconds after the restart.
The point inched Brighton closer to securing a second straight season in the Premier League, eight points clear of the relegation zone with four matches remaining. They are tough ones, though, against Burnley, Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool.
"We know we need some more points," said Gross, who has six goals this season. "We showed we have great character, that we can get points in every game."
Fourth-place Tottenham moved eight points ahead of fifth-place Chelsea in the race to seal an automatic qualification spot in next season's Champions League. Chelsea has a game in hand, at Burnley on Thursday.
Toby Alderweireld made his first Premier League start for Spurs since October, having been sidelined since because of injury and a reported falling-out with manager Mauricio Pochettino.
Alderweireld replaced Davinson Sanchez at center back and had little to do, with Brighton barely threatening except for the attack that led to the penalty that was clumsily given away by Aurier.
The Belgium defender will be looking for more game time in the final month of the season, ahead of the World Cup in Russia starting in June. Tottenham next plays in the FA Cup semifinals against Man United on Saturday and Pochettino rotated his team with that game in mind and in the wake of a chastening 3-1 loss to Man City on Saturday.
"We think to try to give to the team some fresh legs," Pochettino said. "Saturday's game was so tough, mentally and physically. I think we have the squad (good) enough to rotate."