Everton 0-1 Tottenham: Harry Kane's 31st goal seals fifth place
By Jack Wilkinson
Last Updated: 25/05/15 8:10am
Harry Kane secured Tottenham’s place in next season’s Europa League as his 31st goal of the season sealed a 1-0 victory over Everton at Goodison Park as Spurs finished the Premier League season in fifth position.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side entered the game knowing victory would secure European football at White Hart Lane for another season, and Kane’s 24th-minute header proved to be the difference against an at times below-par Toffees outfit.
Kevin Mirallas wasted a string of fine chances for the hosts in both halves, but those were few and far between in an indifferent display from the Toffees which saw them booed off at half time.
The result sees Everton miss out on a top-half finish after Crystal Palace’s victory against Swansea saw the Eagles leapfrog them into tenth position, Spurs finish fifth, six points off Champions League qualification.
Roberto Martinez handed a home debut to teenage left-back Brendan Galloway, while outgoing centre-back Sylvain Distin was included among the substitutes ahead of his farewell.
Retiring goalkeeper Brad Friedel missed out with a shin injury as Spurs packed midfield from the outset and dominated the game early exchanges,
After Ryan Mason had a claim for a penalty by waved away on nine minutes, the game’s first opening fell to Erik Lamela.
After pouncing on an error by debutante Galloway, the Argentine collected Christian Eriksen’s looped pass before forcing Tim Howard to a point-blank save to keep the game goalless.
Mirallas then had the chance to open the scoring moments later but his poor effort failed to make the most of the opening, and Hugo Lloris was called into a rudimentary save.
The Belgian was involved shortly afterwards as he juggled the ball on the edge of the Spurs area before volleying narrowly wide of the angle of post and bar, and the miss would prove costly as the visitors opened the scoring shortly after.
Eric Dier’s perfectly weighted first-time cross fell was met by Kane who, after evading both Phil Jagielka and John Stones, glanced a header past Howard.
After an ineffective first half, Ross Barkley was withdrawn at the interval and the introduction of Muhamed Besic, allied with a change in formation, initially rejuvenated Everton in the second period.
Besic’s long-range strike missed the target by a yard two minutes into the second half, while young Galloway was thwarted by Lloris’ desperate lunge inside the area following a promising run from deep.
Despite this, once Spurs had adjusted their formation in keeping with Everton’s change their lead rarely came under threat and they could have doubled their lead had Federico Fazio steered a free header goal wards on 64 minutes.
Distin received a raucous reception as he was brought on for the final five minutes, but his inclusion did little to revive Everton’s chances as Spurs held on for a deserved victory on Merseyside.
Everton: Howard (7), Coleman (6), Stones (7), Jagielka (6), Galloway (7), McCarthy (6), Barry (6), Mirallas (7), Barkley (5), Osman (7), Lukaku (6).
Used subs: Naismith (7), Distin (5), Besic (7)
Tottenham: Lloris (7), Dier (7), Fazio (7), Vertonghen (8), Bentaleb (6), Dembele (6), Mason (7), Lamela (6), Eriksen (7), Chadli (7), Kane (8).
Used subs: Soldado (2), Townsend (5), Stambouli (6).
Man of the Match: Harry Kane.