LONDON: Son Heung-min ended his scoring drought in stunning fashion with a sublime hat-trick as Tottenham Hotspur crushed Leicester City 6-2 to move joint top of the Premier League yesterday.
Rodrigo Bentancur’s first goal for Tottenham was separating the sides in an entertaining tussle but Son, who started on the bench, exploded back to form with three goals in 14 minutes.
The South Korean, the Premier League’s joint-top scorer last season with 23 goals, had not scored in Tottenham’s first eight games and had lost his place to Dejan Kulusevski.
But he responded in emphatic fashion to steal the limelight, curling an unstoppable right-footer into the top corner, then a left-footer into the other side and completed his hat-trick with a goal initially ruled out for offside.
Son’s relief was palpable as he walked off with the match ball as the ecstatic home fans sang his name.
“I have been disappointed, the team has been doing really, really good but I was disappointed with my performance,” Son said. “I knew goals were coming and I wasn’t worried. I’ve always had great supporters, team mates and coaches behind me.”
Victory lifted Tottenham level on 17 points with champions Manchester City although Arsenal can regain top spot if they beat Brentford away today.
Leicester remain bottom with one point from seven games and the pressure building on manager Brendan Rodgers.
The visitors took an early lead with a twice-taken penalty by Youri Tielemans after Hugo Lloris had saved his first effort.
Davinson Sanchez brought down James Justin and although Lloris saved Tielemans’s initial spot kick he was ruled to have moved off his line after a VAR check.
Tottenham were not behind long as Kulusevski’s pinpoint cross was headed in by Kane in the eighth minute.
Tottenham went ahead in the 21st minute as defender Eric Dier marked his return to the England squad with a glancing header from Ivan Perisic’s corner.
Leicester were lively in attack though and James Maddison’s superb clipped finish sent them in level at halftime.
Bentancur seized on a mistake by Wilfred Ndidi to restore Tottenham’s lead in the 47th minute with a shot off the post but Son went on to steal the show after replacing Richarlison in the 59th minute.
Tottenham are now unbeaten in 13 Premier League games and will head into the international break on a high.
At Molineux, Jack Grealish scored inside the first minute and Erling Haaland netted his 11th Premier League goal of the season as Manchester City eased to a 3-0 victory over 10-man Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Phil Foden added a third in the second half.
The home side were reduced to 10 men on 33 minutes after a horrendous challenge from defender Nathan Collins, who launched himself studs-first into the midriff of Grealish and could have no complaints about the straight red card.
There was a minute’s silence ahead of kickoff following the death of Queen Elizabeth and the majority of fans kept a respectful silence, while there was warm applause on 70 minutes from all around the ground to mark the number of years the monarch was on the throne.
The opening goal after 55 seconds was a first of the season for Grealish, who has come under criticism this week for his failure to both score and provide assists since his £100 million ($114m) move from Aston Villa last year.
The win sees City unbeaten in their last 22 away Premier League games, a club record, and was achieved despite a lethargic second-half display.
At St James’ Park, striker Alexander Isak equalised from the penalty spot to earn Newcastle United a 1-1 draw against Bournemouth in their Premier League clash on a frustrating day.
After dominating a first half that saw Kieran Trippier shave the outside of the post with a free kick, Newcastle must have gone in at the break wondering what they needed to do to score after a flurry of chances were thwarted.
Deploying a tight five-man line across the back, Bournemouth’s defence came out for the second half determined to shut down the spaces that led to those chances, and their plan worked admirably.
Things then went from bad to worse for the hosts when Philip Billing scored for Bournemouth in the 62nd minute.
However, that lead did not last long as Jefferson Lerma was penalised following a VAR review for handling Trippier’s cross in the box, and Isak stepped up to slam the spot kick past Neto.