LONDON – After scoring a brace to help Tottenham Hotspur beat West Ham 3-2 at the London Stadium at the weekend, Harry Kane will swap his Premier League scoring boots for the Uefa Champions League on Tuesday.
And the English striker will be hoping for another double when they take on APOEL Nicosia at the Neo GSP Stadium in Cyprus.
Kane also scored two goals in Spurs’ opening group match against Germany’s Borussia Dortmund earlier this month.
More of the same from Kane, and Spurs’ path to the next round will be paved.
“Of course we are confident, especially with our last result in the Champions League, but there are no easy away games in this competition,” said the English forward.
“So, it’s going to be tough. Hopefully we can win that (Tuesday’s game), we’ll be on six points and a great position.”
APOEL may theoretically be the weakest team in Group H, with Tottenham, Dortmund and Real Madrid hovering gigantically over them, but they are no pushovers.
They dominate the Cyprus League, having won five consecutive titles between 2012/2013 and 2016/2017.
They are regulars in the Uefa competitions and maybe to complement their domestic dominance, they made sure to learn some valuable combat lessons in the Europa League last year.
“Of course as I said, it’s going to be a hostile atmosphere out there, but as I said, we are going to try and win the game. It is going to be tough. In Europe, any away game is difficult, the pitch is going to be dry, the crowd is going to be hard,” Kane assured.
Yet with his local league form, Kane can be expected to be a handful for Nicosia. Ever humble though, the Spurs striker shrugged off questions about whether he fancies his chances of winning the Premier League Golden Boot for a third consecutive time.
If Kane were to clinch the Golden Boot for the 2017/2018 season, he would be counted among greats such as Alan Shearer, who dominated the award between 1994 and 1997 while playing for Blackburn Rovers and then Newcastle United.
Kane, though, was cautious not to blow out of proportion talks of achieving the same feat, but he clearly highlighted his hunger for goals.
“No doubt that I am disappointed by not getting a hat-trick (against West Ham). Whenever you score two goals, especially in the first half, you are always looking for a hat-trick,” he said.
“Moreover, there was even a free-kick that hit the posts. At the end, I am very happy with scoring the two goals that won us the game.”
It’s not surprising that Kane is cautious when talking about defending the Golden Boot.
He again started slowly this season, lagging behind record signings Romelu Lukaku of Manchester United, Chelsea’s Alvaro Morata and Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, who have all netted six league goals each thus far.
Kane is tied third with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah on four strikes, with Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy second with five goals.
This is not to say it has made Kane desperate to catch up, but on Saturday, he appeared to share free-kick duties with Christian Eriksen.
“We do practice free-kicks in training. We practice with Eriksen. Even that one was a crucial decision (taking the kick instead of Eriksen), but I kind of fancied it, but then unluckily it hit the posts.
“At least Eriksen scored the winning goal at the end. We practice them, so it’s a matter of whoever feels confident about it takes one during the game, hopefully one of them goes in for me soon.”
Isolezwe, IOL Sport