Never say die Spurs delight Conte with Leicester late show

Tottenham Hotspur’s Steven Bergwijn scores their third goal against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium, Leicester January 19, 2022— Reuters pic

LEICESTER, Jan 20 — Antonio Conte said he saw the spirit he is trying to implement at Tottenham after Steven Bergwijn scored twice deep into stoppage time to stun Leicester with thrilling 3-2 win on Wednesday.

The Foxes looked set to snatch victory against the run of play as Patson Daka and James Maddison struck either side of Harry Kane’s first-half equaliser.

However, Bergwijn, who had not scored a Premier League goal this season, came off the bench to turn the game on its head in a dramatic finale.

Instead of suffering Conte’s first league defeat since taking charge in November, victory lifts Spurs above north London rivals Arsenal into fifth and within a point of fourth-placed West Ham with three games in hand.

“I think we showed today that we don’t want to give up. Never,” said the Italian. “The players know very well what our philosophy must be. We must fight to the end and try to also get a result.”

The match had been rescheduled at Leicester’s request after they were unable to field a side in December due to a combination of coronavirus cases and injuries.

Brendan Rodgers’ men remain severely depleted with four players away at the Africa Cup of Nations on top of a long injury list, but were seconds away from a win that would have ignited their own hopes of European football next season.

“That was a great opportunity tonight, but you have to see that through,” said Rodgers. “I don’t think Tottenham won the game, we presented them the three points.”

Tottenham were fresh after their derby clash against Arsenal had been called off on Sunday against their will.

Kane looked better for the rest, but the England captain will wonder how he did not register at least a hat-trick.

His first effort was brilliantly cleared off the line by Luke Thomas as it arrowed towards the bottom corner.

Kane then thundered the crossbar with a header form a corner and Lucas Moura forced Kasper Schmeichel to full stretch.

But completely against the run of play, Leicester went in front when Daka, deputising for the injured Jamie Vardy, got the break of the ball inside the box and slotted beyond Lloris at his near post.

Kane finally got his 18th goal in 17 appearances against the club where he spent a short loan spell earlier in his career on 38 minutes as he raced onto Harry Winks’ through ball, cut inside Caglar Soyuncu and rolled in off the inside of the post.

Seconds later, Kane should have scored again when he blasted well over with just Schmeichel to beat.

Leicester posed more of a threat on the counter-attack after the break and Maddison should have done better when he fired straight at Lloris.

The midfielder thought he had the final say when he exchanged a one-two with Harvey Barnes and got the aid of a huge deflection off Japhet Tanganga to wrong-foot Lloris 14 minutes from time.

But the defensive frailties that have dogged Leicester’s season reappeared in stoppage time.

Bergwijn pounced to fire home after Matt Doherty’s effort was blocked by Soyuncu five minutes into stoppage time.

Straight from the kick-off, Youri Tielemans gave away possession cheaply and Kane played Bergwijn through once more to round Schmeichel and fire in off the post. — AFP

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