London: Harry Kane scored a first-half hat trick as Tottenham thrashed Stoke 4-0 Sunday to deliver a record-equaling eighth straight Premier League victory at home.
Kane reached 100 career goals at club level with his opener as he delivered a spectacular treble within 37 minutes, before setting up Dele Alli to give Spurs a 4-0 halftime lead.
Tottenham’s eighth successive win at White Hart Lane equals the club record set in 2009.
It was the perfect way for Mauricio Pochettino’s side to get its Premier League campaign back on track after a turbulent February, which saw defeat to domestic rivals Liverpool followed by a surprise Europa League exit at the hands of Belgian side Genk.
“I’m very pleased for him (Kane), he deserves it, he’s very professional and he’s a top man. It doesn’t surprise me, because I’ve told you many times that for me he’s one of the best strikers in the world,” Pochettino said.
“This season we are not only winning games (at White Hart Lane), we are playing very well here. Maybe because we all know it’s the last season here and it’s a very special atmosphere on the pitch and in the stadium.”
Stoke has now lost its last three Premier League games against Tottenham 4-0.
“Maybe we had a few scars from the previous two performances,” Stoke manager Mark Hughes said.
“We were a little bit too passive and not aggressive enough in our defensive work. At times we were a little bit awestruck and maybe gave a little bit too much respect to good players.”
Kane’s landmark strike came in the 14th as he took advantage of Ryan Shawcross’ failure to clear, sending the ball across goal with power and precision from the right side of the box.
Despite the final score, Hugo Lloris produced one of the game’s most crucial moments in the 23rd to preserve his side’s lead. The French goalkeeper repelled Peter Crouch’s effort at point-blank range after the former Spurs striker met Erik Pieters’ cross.
Warning heeded, Tottenham did not look back.
Jan Vertonghen struck the crossbar with a rising right-footed effort before Kane came within inches of adding his second with a powerful strike from outside the box.
The England forward scored the pick of his goals in the 32nd as he met Christian Eriksen’s corner with a wonderfully controlled left-foot volley.
There was some fortune involved when Kane completed his hat trick five minutes later from a set piece. His low strike took a significant deflection off the Stoke wall, wrong-footing goalkeeper Lee Grant and creeping into the bottom corner.
The prolific Kane, who has now scored 13 goals in his last 11 games for Tottenham, then showed the other side of his game as he set up Alli in first-half stoppage time.
Having received a pass just inside the Stoke half, Kane flicked the ball over Bruno Martins Indi and surged into the penalty area before centering for Alli, who made no mistake finishing high into the net.
Stoke did manage to restore some pride after the break, as Hughes’ side prevented Tottenham from adding to its first-half haul. Grant saved well from Eric Dier and the still goal-hungry Kane. The only negatives for Spurs came in the second period, as both Vertonghen and fellow defender Toby Alderweireld were forced off with injuries. However, Pochettino suggested both will be fit for next weekend’s clash with Everton.
The victory saw Tottenham regain second place, moving to within 10 points of leader Chelsea with 12 games left. Stoke is 10th, having scored just three goals in its last five league games.