Aston Villa 0-2 Tottenham: Harry Kane double boosts Spurs title hopes
By Sam Drury
Last Updated: 14/03/16 6:28am
Harry Kane scored goals either side of half-time as Tottenham beat Aston Villa 2-0 to move to within two points of Premier League leaders Leicester.
The Tottenham striker missed a trio of first-half chances but eventually tucked one away on the stroke of half-time and added a second three minutes after the restart to take his goal tally to 22 for the season.
The victory ends a run of three games without a win in all competitions and cranks up the pressure on Leicester ahead of their clash with Newcastle on Monday Night Football.
Villa, meanwhile, remain rooted to the foot of the table, nine points from safety with just eight games remaining.
Spurs flew out of the traps and looked like scoring every time they went forward in the opening 10 minutes with Kane passing up the best of the opportunities.
Erik Lamela played him in with a perfectly weighted through-ball but the England international lofted his effort over the advancing Brad Guzan and against the bar.
Villa had a chance of their own soon after as Jordan Veretout stole in behind the Spurs defence and pulled the ball back to Rudy Gestede. The striker was unable to make the required contact with his volley though, and Spurs were able to clear.
That sparked a good spell of pressure for Villa but they failed to capitalise and the next clear chance fell to Tottenham as a flowing move ended with Kane shooting tamely at Guzan from eight yards from Danny Rose's low cross.
Guzan was called into action again to deny Kane soon after but his best moment of a busy first half came when he pushed Lamela's close range attempt onto the post before Alan Hutton hacked the ball off the line as it rebounded off the goalkeeper's back and rolled towards goal.
Gestede volleyed straight at Hugo Lloris from Carles Gil's free-kick as the game approached half-time but just as Villa thought they might reach the interval on level terms, Kane struck.
Dele Alli showed fine awareness to jump up having been bundled over to lift a quick free-kick over the Villa defence and into the path of Kane. The England front man kept his cool and held off Hutton to slot his left-footer into the far corner.
Within three minutes of the restart, Kane scored his and Tottenham's second, running onto Alli's pass from the left to stab the ball home from 10 yards.
That effectively killed the game as a contest and both teams seemed to accept the result with goalmouth action at a minimum until the final 15 minutes.
Lamela should have made it three having burst into the box but saw his shot deflected wide before Villa hit the woodwork three times in the closing stages.
First, Jordan Ayew hit the ball against the near post from a tight angle having beaten Mousa Dembele down the left before Gestede thumped the rebound against the crossbar from inside the six yard box.
It was a moment that summed up Villa's season and it was compounded a couple of minutes later as Gestede flicked on a corner to the far post where Joleon Lescott was arriving unmarked. The centre-back could, however, only volley it against the outside of the post from close range.
Aston Villa: Guzan (8), Hutton (6), Okore (7), Lescott (6), Cissokho (6), Gueye (7), Westwood (6), Veretout (6), Gil (5), Ayew (6), Gestede (5).
Subs used: Green (5), Sinclair (5).
Tottenham: Lloris (6), Walker (7), Alderweireld (8), Wimmer (7), Rose (7), Dier (7), Dembele (7), Lamela (8), Alli (8), Eriksen (7), Kane (8).
Subs used: Carroll (5), Mason (5), Chadli (5).
Man of the match: Dele Alli