Harry Kane faces low-level abuse post-World Cup. Some songs about failing his country down, sniggering when things go wrong, and gentle boos, even at Brentford, not the most unfriendly location he’ll visit. The England captain remains Tottenham’s most clinical center striker, the guy their finest game revolves around, and no record is safe while he’s about. Kane scored his 13th Premier League goal of the season 16 days after missing a penalty in a World Cup quarterfinal.
He is now four goals behind Spurs legend Jimmy Greaves. Brentford was already 2-0 up, and it looked like the day may go to Ivan Toney, another English striker with a new outlook on life after being snubbed from the World Cup squad and charged with breaking FA gambling regulations.
Brentford 2-2 Tottenham
Kane scored with a header 20 minutes into the second half, and he spearheaded Tottenham’s late drive when Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg tied the game six minutes later. Nobody came closer. Brentford didn’t deserve to lose, even though Kane’s header beat David Raya in the air.
They had been the better team for an hour, and Toney looked destined to steal the show, inciting the home crowd to mock Kane’s penalty miss by singing, “Ivan Toney would’ve scored that.” It’s hard to argue with Toney’s fielding record. Spurs fans demanded the score and odds from Toney.
It was funny tit-for-tat. Brentford was in control, and Toney was involved in the opening goal, with a header to unleash Bryan Mbeumo. Mbeumo’s cross from the left ended up in the net via Mathias Jensen’s miscued volley, Clement Lenglet’s deflection, Fraser Forster’s block, and Vitaly Janelt’s knee.
Tottenham has conceded first in nine straight games. Brentford may be difficult for visiting teams. Consider Arsenal’s opening-day loss last season or Manchester United’s this. His crew is aggressive and tenacious. They apply pressure by being first to lose balls in midfield and shock the opposition by playing direct to Toney or Mbeumo in behind. Set pieces, especially Jansen’s long throws, are devastating.
All of this on a pitch that isn’t among the Premier League’s slickest creates an intense atmosphere. Tottenham was slow and unprepared. Kane and Ivan Perisic barely returned from World Cup duties last week. Hojbjerg equalized after a deflected Kulusevski cross. Second-half penalties caused arguments. David Coote didn’t give Kane a penalty for Ben Mee’s pull and Perisic a handball. Not even his VAR. There were late desperate dives, first by Matt Doherty, which infuriated Mathias Jorgensen and sparked a fight, and then by Mbeumo, who was booked for his antics.