LONDON: Homegrown hero Harry Kane scored Tottenham Hotspur’s last goal at White Hart Lane as they bade farewell to their home with a 2-1 victory over Manchester United on Sunday.
Kane, born up the road in Chingford, added to Victor Wanyama’s early header to secure a victory that confirmed Spurs will finish in second place in the Premier League and ended United’s hopes of a top-four finish.
Demolition work at the Lane, Spurs’ home since 1899, will start on Monday, with Mauricio Pochettino’s side playing at Wembley next season before moving into their new ground, which is being built on the same site, in 2018.
“What a way to finish,” said Kane, who was mobbed as hundreds of fans poured onto the pitch at the final whistle.
“We wanted a win so badly in our last game here. I said before I’d love to score the winning goal and for it to happen is brilliant. To see it go in was special.”
The Lane has been graced by such Spurs greats as Jimmy Greaves, Steve Perryman and Glenn Hoddle and it was fitting that Kane, emblem of their exciting current side, should be their final goal-scorer there.
It was Spurs’ 14th successive home league win – equalling the club record, set over two seasons in 1987 – and meant they finished a league campaign unbeaten at home for the first time since 1964-65.
Supporters flooded onto the pitch at the end of the game before eventually being persuaded to return to their seats for a ceremony featuring famous figures from the club’s past.
Sixth-place United, who replied through Wayne Rooney, fell to a second successive league defeat, having seen a 25-game unbeaten run ended by a 2-0 loss down the road at Arsenal last weekend.
Guaranteed to finish outside the top four for the third time in four seasons, Jose Mourinho’s team must now beat Ajax in the Europa League final to procure a place in the Champions League.
“You can’t play two big competitions with 15 players,” said Mourinho, who made eight changes to the team that had edged Celta Vigo in the Europa League semi-finals on Thursday.
“At the moment, the Premier League matches are the ones we don’t want to play.”
The teams emerged to find the famous old arena awash with blue and white as Spurs’ fans waved flags bearing the legend “THE LANE, THE FINALE” and filled the air with songs.
Mourinho, whose changes included 19-year-old defender Axel Tuanzebe lining up in midfield, saw his side fall behind in the sixth minute.
Spurs played a corner short on the left and Ben Davies’s deep cross was emphatically headed home by Wanyama.
United briefly threatened, Rooney heading over from a Daley Blind corner and then playing an outside-of-the-foot pass down the line to Anthony Martial, who cut in and curled wide.
But with Spurs’ fans happily serenading favourites of yesteryear – Ledley King, Teddy Sheringham, Aaron Lennon, who is fighting mental health issues at present – the hosts reasserted control.
United goalkeeper David de Gea was the busiest man in the stadium, parrying a strike by Son Heung-Min, acrobatically denying Dele Alli and saving with his legs from Kane, who also clipped the bar with a header.
Kane struck three minutes into the second half, innovatively volleying home Christian Eriksen’s free-kick from the left to take his goal tally for the league campaign to 22.
Rooney reduced the arrears in the 71st minute, prodding in Martial’s low cross and giving United their first goal in an away game against another member of the top six this season at the fifth and final attempt.
“It was a perfect performance and I am happy for the victory for our fans,” said Pochettino.