Son scores two as Spurs beat West Ham 3-1
Son Heung-min scored two goals to lead Tottenham Hotspur to a 3-2 win over West Ham at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on Sunday, combining with Harry Kane to extend their record as the most prolific goal-scoring partnership the Premier League has ever seen.
Spurs picked up an early lead in the ninth minute following an own goal by West Ham's Kurt Zouma, with Son extending that lead to 2-0 in the 24th minute. Kane was behind the attack, linking up with Son on the edge of the box to put the Korean forward in position to slam the ball into the top right corner.
West Ham's Saïd Benrahma pulled one back 11 minutes later, flicking the ball into the net to take the score to 2-1.
Spurs continued to control the momentum of the game into the second half, but it wasn't until the 88th minute that Son was able to extend the lead to 3-1. Once again Kane was the playmaker, heading on a big goal kick from Hugo Lloris to Son, who ran into the box and slotted it past Lukasz Fabianski.
Son left the pitch in the 92nd minute to a standing ovation and the game came to an end two minutes later.
With the win, Spurs jump from seventh to fifth on the Premier League table and move within three points of fourth place and a Champions League berth. Arsenal currently sit in fourth on 54 points, with Spurs trailing on 51 points. Arsenal have a game in hand, adding to the challenge for the north London rivals.
With only the top four clubs in the Premier League earning a ticket to the Champions League, Spurs will still need exceptional form over the remaining eight games of the season if they want a shot at reaching the continental tournament.
Manchester United in sixth place are just one point behind Spurs, with West Ham now in seventh, three points behind. Wolves trail two points behind West Ham in eighth, with a big 10 points then separating the top eight from everybody else.
Yet despite the eight teams till in play for four coveted spots, there is a chance that Spurs manager Antonio Conte could pull off a miracle and lift the club into Champions League contention in the last few weeks.
Of the eight games that Tottenham still have to play, only one is against a higher ranked teams: Liverpool on May 7. The remaining seven games are all against much lower-ranked teams, including two of the three clubs currently fighting relegation.
"[With] Sonny you’re talking about a player who is really, really good, an important player but at the same time a good person," Conte said after the game. "He suffers if the performance is not good but especially if we don’t get three points.
"He is an important player for us and he showed today that he is an important player and I have seen a lot of links between him, Harry [Kane] and [Dejan] Kulusevski but also with Lucas [Moura], Steven Bergwijn and we are working a lot on this aspect."
As well as pulling Spurs a little closer to Champions League contention, Sunday's game also added to Son and Kane's personal stats. Son has now scored 13 goals this season, making this his third-best season with eight games still left to play. Last year was Son's most productive season, with 17 goals scored.
Kane's two assists also add to the duo's ever-growing list of Premier League goals. Son and Kane have now combined on 39 Premier League goals, extending their record as the most prolific goal-scoring partnership the Premier League has ever seen.
The duo broke the Premier League record on Feb. 27, officially beating Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard's 36 goals, and have now added two more to the all-time tally with no sign of stopping soon.
Sunday's two assists also marked the 19th and 20th times Kane has assisted Son in the Premier League, putting him in third place for the most assists to a single teammate in Premier League history. The record is held by Lampard, with 24 assists to Drogba, followed by David Silva, with 21 to Sergio Aguero.
The Premier League will now stop for the international break. Son will return to Korea to join the national team as they take on Iran in the first of two qualifiers for the 2022 Qatar World Cup at Seoul World Cup Stadium in western Seoul at 8 p.m. on Thursday.
BY JIM BULLEY [email@example.com]