Preston 0 Tottenham 3: Son Heung-min’s second half double & Arnaut Danjuma debut goal leads Spurs to FA Cup fifth round


    Well, in the medium and long-term, Tottenham. That much was painfully obvious for almost 50 minutes of this game.

    Son Heung-min's wicked strike gave Tottenham the lead


    Son Heung-min’s wicked strike gave Tottenham the leadCredit: Conor Molloy/News Images
    It was the Spurs man's seventh goal of the season


    It was the Spurs man’s seventh goal of the seasonCredit: Reuters
    Son then made it eight for the campaign with 20 minutes remaining


    Son then made it eight for the campaign with 20 minutes remainingCredit: AFP
    Arnaut Danjuma scored late on to mark his Spurs debut with a goal


    Arnaut Danjuma scored late on to mark his Spurs debut with a goalCredit: AFP

    But on a day when a poorly Kane was rested and denied the chance to become Spurs’ record scorer, it fell to Son Heung-min to keep alive the club’s best chance of finally breaking that trophy drought.

    The opening goal, just after the break, was timely both for Son and his team.

    The South Korean has had an awful season by his own high standards. He is one half of the most prolific double act in Premier League history but has not been pulling the weight even of a straight man to Kane’s star turn.

    Son’s four league goals have come in two matches, and his other two before last night were in a single Champions League fixture. In other words, the net had eluded him in 23 of his 26 appearances.

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    Dogged, well-organised Preston had restricted him and an uninspired Spurs side mainly to efforts from distance in the first half.

    Without Kane to pull everything together like a conductor, the off-key visitors simply weren’t able to create other clear-cut openings.

    But Son made the hosts pay dearly for standing off him and curled a wonderful effort past Freddie Woodman from 25 yards to break the deadlock.

    His second goal, 20 minutes or so later, was almost as emphatic and killed off the fading prospect of a giantkilling long before new signing Arnaut Danjuma added a late third.

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    Ah, the magic of the cup.

    This tasty-looking tie gave Preston the chance to sample the wholesome sight and sound of Tottenham fans singing about Sol Campbell.

    On the day the ex-Spurs defender publicly bemoaned the fact that he was still such a hate figure after moving to Arsenal all those years ago, guess what?

    The supporters who once loved him gave him both barrels for the benefit of a teatime family audience. The first chant you can probably file under very aggressive “banter”. The second, that is about celebrating Campbell’s death, is just plain wrong.

    For good measure, the visiting fans also used the Y-word that their own club has repeatedly asked them to remove from their match-day vocabulary.

    Lovely stuff.

    And if that wasn’t enough to warm your heart, there was always the news that Ched Evans was starting up front for Preston on a night when the story was supposed to be about a different striker.

    Kane’s goal at Fulham had put him level with Greaves on 266 goals and he will have fancied his chances of setting a new landmark in Lancashire.

    But the England captain, who defied a fever to play at Craven Cottage, had returned to training only on Friday after three days off.

    If Kane was bleeding out of his eyes, he would still want to play every minute of every game.

    The South Korean has struggled to find the back of the net in recent times


    The South Korean has struggled to find the back of the net in recent timesCredit: Getty

    But Conte decided it was not worth the risk and put him on the bench.

    The Italian had assessed that it WAS worth the risk to make seven changes overall to the side that had started against Fulham.

    Preston had begun the New Year pretty well but, as a mid-table Championship side, should not have had enough to cause serious discomfort to a club that will resume its participation in the Champions League on Valentine’s Day.

    That wasn’t going to stop a sold-out Deepdale dreaming of an upset under the Saturday night lights.

    But the home side were soon on the back foot.

    After a half-cleared free kick, Dejan Kulusevski found himself with a shooting opportunity only for Ryan Ledson to make a timely block.

    Goalkeeper Freddie Woodman dealt comfortably with a Son shot but for 20 minutes Preston found it hard to build attacks of their own, let alone have a shot.

    When their first chance came, it unfortunately fell to centre back Andrew Hughes, whose slightly mishit effort was deflected away.

    Spurs, although continuing to enjoy up to 80 per cent possession, struggled to break their opponents down, crossed the ball poorly and lacked cohesion. They were missing the main man to provide a focal point and link play.

    In Kane’s ongoing absence, Son forced a save out of Woodman from just outside the box while Kulusevski was off target from similar range before having another effort blocked by Liam Lindsay.

    Harry Kane was an unused substitute for Tottenham at Deepdale


    Harry Kane was an unused substitute for Tottenham at DeepdaleCredit: Reuters

    So far, so average.

    But eventually one of those long-range shots was going to pay off, and early in the second half it did.

    Preston allowed Son time to adjust his sights and he curled a brilliant left-footed shot right into the corner of Woodman’s net.

    The away fans at last had a reason to be cheerful, although that didn’t sustain them for long and they were soon singing again about wanting chairman Daniel Levy to leave the club.

    Preston tried to make a game of it and Ben Whiteman sent the volume soaring again with an effort just wide.

    At the other end Woodman made a bit of a meal of keeping out a Perisic header.

    But he was soon beaten again when Son turned on to a cute flick from the Croatian and fired home.

    Conte made three changes immediately. None was to bring on Kane but one of the trio of substitutes, Danjuma, marked his debut with a scuffed finish in the dying minutes.

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    A couple of late pitch invaders shamed Preston, as some Tottenham fans had their team with their chants.

    But on this occasion, with Kane indisposed, Son and Spurs stood up to be counted.


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