Tottenham 3-0 Crystal Palace: Conte momentum builds as Kane, Lucas and Son down 10-man Eagles with Zaha sent off

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·3-min read
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  • Antonio Conte
    Antonio Conte
    Italian association football player and manager
  • Lucas Moura
    Lucas Moura
    Brazilian association football player
  • Harry Kane
    Harry Kane
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  • Wilfried Zaha
    Wilfried Zaha
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  • Joachim Andersen
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  • Patrick Vieira
    French association football manager and former player
Lucas Moura assisted one goal and scored another for Tottenham against Crystal Palace  (Getty Images)
Lucas Moura assisted one goal and scored another for Tottenham against Crystal Palace (Getty Images)

Tottenham continued their impressive momentum under Antonio Conte as Crystal Palace were made to rue five minutes of first-half disaster in a Boxing Day London derby in the Premier League.

An otherwise competitive contest skewed totally in one direction after two goals in as many minutes from Harry Kane and Lucas Moura, with Wilfried Zaha then sent off as the visitors threw away any chance of a successful result at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Heung-min Son broke 10-man Palace’s stubborn second-half resistance with a third goal 15 minutes from time to make it another top-flight win for Conte.

Palace twice tried to have Sunday’s match postponed due to a Covid-19 outbreak in the camp that saw manager Patrick Vieira absent from the dugout and assistant Osian Roberts take charge instead.

However, their requests were denied by the Premier League and Palace actually surprisingly only made one change from the side that drew with Southampton on December 15 as Joachim Andersen replaced Marc Guehi in defence, though they were still without several players and only named a seven-strong substitutes bench.

Tottenham, meanwhile, made three changes to the side that knocked rivals West Ham out of the Carabao Cup quarter-finals in midweek, with Emerson Royal, Japhet Tanganga and Heung-min Son taking over for Matt Doherty, Ben Davies and Steven Bergwijn.

Given the uncertainties behind their preparation and the absence of Vieira, Palace made an impressive start to proceedings in N17, though all their hard work was undone just past the half-hour mark when Emerson released compatriot Lucas with a fine long ball and the latter’s low pass was swept home expertly by Harry Kane, who had barely been involved in the match up until that point.

The effort was only England captain Kane’s third in the Premier League all season and he pulled level with Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler with his ninth goal in total on Boxing Day.

Palace quickly fell into a deeper hole as man-of-the-match Lucas turned from provider to goalscorer, beating the static Andersen with a close-range header beyond Jack Butland - once again deputising in the Palace goal with no Vicente Guaita - after initially winning possession for Tottenham high up the pitch and latching onto Emerson’s pinpoint cross.

A disastrous five minutes for the reeling Eagles was completed when Zaha - already on a booking for clipping Davinson Sanchez from behind - tussled with Emerson and then shoved the former Barcelona full-back to the ground in needless fashion, attracting a second yellow card from referee Jon Moss.

The 10 men of Palace actually defended resolutely after the interval despite their numerical disadvantage, though Tottenham did not struggle for chances.

After failing to put in the impressive Oliver Skipp’s volleyed cut-back from the byline just moments earlier, Son made no mistake from Lucas’ low cross in the 74th minute to set the seal on a thoroughly one-sided victory.

Tottenham are now unbeaten in six league matches as the Conte renaissance continues ahead of trips to Southampton and Watford.

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