Tottenham Hotspur vs Leicester City. Premier League.
Tottenham Hotspur StadiumAttendance61,450.
Free highlights and match report as Heung-min Son ends drought with stunning second-half hat-trick; Harry Kane, Eric Dier and Rodrigo Bentancur on target as Spurs extend unbeaten start to seven games to move level on points with Man City; winless Leicester rooted to foot of table
Sunday 18 September 2022 10:36, UK
Antonio Conte emphasised the importance of rotation to Tottenham's challenge on all fronts after substitute Heung-min Son's sensational 14-minute hat-trick sealed Saturday's 6-2 thrashing of Leicester.
Son was dropped to the bench after failing to score in any of Spurs' opening eight matches but kick-started his campaign with a magical cameo from the bench following his introduction on the hour, firing in two trademark long-range strikes before slotting his third past the hapless Danny Ward.
First-half headers from Harry Kane and Eric Dier and Rodrigo Bentancur's first Spurs goal had seen Antonio Conte's side bounce back from Youri Tielemans' sixth-minute, retaken penalty and James Maddison's magical hooked finish to lead 3-2 early in the second half.
But Son upstaged all that had come before as his memorable treble extended Tottenham's unbeaten start to seven games and lifted Conte's side above rivals Arsenal up to second in the table, level on points with Premier League leaders Manchester City.
"To have a player of this level on the bench it means in one moment I can change the game," Conte said. "Today the rotation was for Son, but in the next round when we have 12 games in a row, other players will be involved. If you want to play massive games in the Premier League and Champions League, they have to start to understand rotation is very important."
Winless Leicester's nightmare start to the campaign continued as a heavy sixth-consecutive defeat left the Foxes rooted to the foot of the table with just a single point after seven games as the pressure mounted on manager Brendan Rodgers.
Tottenham: Lloris (8), Sanchez (5), Lenglet (6), Dier (7), Sessegnon (6), Hojbjerg (6), Bentancur (7), Perisic (7), Kulusevski (7), Richarlison (6), Kane (8).
Subs: Son (9), Emerson (6), Romero (6), Bissouma (5).
Leicester: Ward (4), Castagne (5), Faes (6), Evans (5), Justin (6), Maddison (8), Tielemans (7), Ndidi (4), Dewsbury-Hall (5), Barnes (5), Daka (4).
Subs: Vardy (5), Iheanacho (5), Soumare (n/a).
Man of the Match: Heung-min Son
After suffering their first defeat of the season at Sporting Lisbon, Spurs made the worst possible start to preserving their unbeaten domestic start, with Davinson Sanchez's needless, clumsy foul on James Justin handing Leicester a fourth-minute penalty.
Hugo Lloris saved Tielemans' initial spot-kick, but Tottenham celebrations were short-lived. After the Spurs goalkeeper was found to have stepped off his line, a retake was ordered, and the Belgian made no mistake at the second attempt to give the visitors the lead.
Spurs were not behind for long, Kane's fourth headed, and sixth goal of the season from Dejan Kulusevski's in-swinging cross ensured Leicester's lead lasted just two minutes and Dier completed the Tottenham comeback midway through the half when he glanced in Ivan Perisic's corner at the near post.
Wilfred Ndidi deflected the ball into his own net five minutes later, but his blushes were spared when Sanchez's foul on goalkeeper Danny Ward resulted in the effort being chalked off.
Spurs' sloppiness in possession invited pressure from Leicester who, after Patson Daka fired tamely at Lloris and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall blazed over, equalised in exquisite fashion when Maddison hooked Timothy Castagne's cross over the Spurs goalkeeper into the far corner.
Tottenham and Leicester could have gone in ahead at the break. Ward tipped Sanchez's header onto the bar before Maddison's low drive forced Lloris into action in stoppage time but, within two minutes of the restart, Ndidi was caught on the ball by Bentancur, who strode forward and put his first goal in English football away to restore the hosts' lead.
Leicester pushed for a second equaliser saw Daka's stooping header draw an exquisite, clawing save from Lloris, with the chance forcing Conte to turn to his substitutes Son, Cristian Romero and Emerson Royal to regain order. They delivered just that.
Son banished his early-season struggles with an unstoppable shot from 20 yards to give Spurs the breathing space they craved before he netted a stunning curled second off his left foot from the same range and sealed the matchball by linking up with Kane to complete a memorable treble.
Tottenham manager Antonio Conte: "It's important to understand that when you play a lot of games in a row, players can be tired physically and mentally.
"Players don't think this, they think they are able to play every game but, at the same time, I was a player and I know that if you want to play massive games in the Premier League and Champions League, they have to start to understand rotation is very important.
"To have a player of this level on the bench it means in one moment I can change the game. This is the right path for us. Today the rotation was for Son, but in the next round when we have 12 games in a row, other players will be involved."
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers: "I come in every day and see the players training with confidence, but you have to win games. I totally understand the frustration of supporters. I can't hide from that, it is my responsibility.
"Whatever happens I will have a huge amount of respect for them (the owners) because they've given me great support since I have been here.
I understand the game, I understand football. Today the scoreline didn't reflect the game, but the bottom line is we have had a heavy defeat and we should have been better. Whatever happens to me here at Leicester whether I stay and continue to fight on, I will always respect them."
After failing to score with any of his first 17 shots in the Premier League this season, Heung-min Son scored with three of his four attempts against Leicester.
Son became the first Tottenham and seventh Premier League player to score a Premier League hat-trick as a substitute, and the first since Steven Naismith against Chelsea in September 2015.
After the international break, Tottenham travel to Arsenal for the North London derby on October 1 at 12.30pm, before Leicester host Nottingham Forest on Monday Night Football on October 3 at 8pm - live on Sky Sports Premier League.