Everton 2 Tottenham 2
Two brilliant finishes from Harry Kane continued his onslaught on the Premier League record books but could not help improve Jose Mourinho’s chances of European football next season.
Gylfi Sigurdsson scored twice himself, to keep Everton in the chase for the top seven finish that might be enough to take a team into next season’s new third-tier Europa Conference League.
But it was another sobering wake-up call for Kane, whose two goals took him above Jermain Defoe and Robbie Fowler into seventh place on the Premier League’s all-time goalscoring list. Kane ended up limping off in injury-time, a worrying sign ahead of the upcoming League Cup final with Manchester City.
“We’re disappointed with the goals we conceded but 2-2 was fair,” said Tottenham defender Eric Dier. “It’s a worry when you see Harry limping, he doesn’t fall over easily, he takes a lot of knocks.”
“We’ve got to keep fighting, we have a cup final, we have to prepare for that as best we can.”
Kane’s tally of 164 goals is also significant for another reason, leaving Kane as the highest-scoring player in Premier League history without a title to his name.
Every passing week of this campaign has inspired fresh speculation that this may be the summer when Kane finally tires of that fact and seeks a move away from Spurs.
Not that they needed further evidence on Friday night, but either Manchester club would improve their own title odds — not to mention Kane’s — by trying to tempt Tottenham to sell him at the end of the campaign.
But Kane’s goal were opportunist finishes, the result of his very presence panicking Everton defenders into errors, the second being an almost embarrassing example for Carlo Ancelotti’s side.
Erik Lamela’s cross could have been dealt with by Michael Keane who succeeded only in heading against team mate Mason-Holgate, with the ball breaking for Kane who thumped in an unstoppable first-time finish from a dozen or so yards.
That was a swift response to Sigurdsson’s second, seven minutes earlier. Richarlison played the ball wide to overlapping substitute Seamus Coleman who picked out Sigurdsson to meet the ball with a devastating first-time shot into the corner of the Spurs goal from 15 yards.
Kane and Sigurdsson had already scored one apiece in the first, Kane striking in predictably lethal fashion to breath life into a contest that had been disappointingly drab, given the high stakes for which both sides were playing.
A top-four finish was an increasingly distant prospect for both sides before kick-off but that still did not enliven either with any urgency — until the opening goal.
It came from Tanguy Ndombele’s 27th-minute cross which found Everton’s defence inexplicably drawn out of position and, even more bafflingly, leaving Kane unmarked around the six-yard line.
Keane could only flick the ball into the striker’s path and one simple touch, a pivot and lethal left-foot finish did the rest.
It took Kane to the 20-goal mark for the fifth time in a season —- a mark of consistency that only Sergio Aguero, Thierry Henry and Alan Shearer, who leads the way having done it in seven seasons, can match.
With Mourinho having selected what looked a defence-first line-up, the opening goal was a perfect part of the game plan, yet it was one Spurs could only hold for four minutes.
Sergio Reguilon was the guilty party, tripping James Rodriguez as the Colombian collected a Gylfi Sigurdsson pass and lined up a shot.
It was, to use the vernacular, a “soft” penalty but there had been contact and Sigurdsson needed no second invitation to convert a clinical penalty, right-footed, into the bottom corner.
The equaliser clearly energised Everton, themselves not completely out of the running for a Champions League position, and Carlo Ancelotti could easily have gone into the interval in front.
Rodriguez’s long shot was comfortably stopped by Lloris before the Colombian linked superbly with Sigurdsson and nearly scored a second for the Blues after 38 minutes.
The Colombian played a delightful one-two with his teammate who played Rodriguez clean in on goal where Lloris won his duel impressively, blocking the striker’s shot.
And the half ended with Ben Godfrey left unmarked at the far post, following Rodriguez’s free-kick, and sending his header wide of the Tottenham goal.
Perhaps Mourinho altered his approach at the interval because his team started the second half with more attacking intent than they had shown for most of the first.
An intuitive Kane pass played in Son Heung-Min, who had been relatively quiet until that point, and the South Korean made an inclusive run into the Everton area before his effort was kept out at the near-post by Jordan Pickford.
Kane also slipped in Ndombdele whose shot looped off Lucas Digne and over for a corner from which Toby Alderweireld connected with Son’s delivery and headed against the outside of the post.
EVERTON (4-2-3-1): Pickford 6; Godfrey 5, Keane 4, Holgate 5, Digne 6; Allan 6, Davies 7 (King 84); Iwobi 5 (Coleman 60, 7), Rodriguez 8, Sigurdsson 9; Richarlison 6. Subs (not used) Nkounkou, Virginia, Olsen, Broadhead, John, Price, Welch.
TOTTENHAM (3-4-1-2): Lloris 7; Alderweireld 7, Rodon 6, Dier 5; Aurier 5, Sissoko 7, Hojbjerg 6, Reguilon 5 (Moura 64, 6); Ndombele 7 (Lamela 64, 7); Son 7, Kane 9 (Alli 90). Subs (not used) Sanchez, Winks, Bale, Hart, Lo Celso, Tanganga.
Referee: M Oliver 6