Son Heung-Min ensured Tottenham Hotspur didn’t pay a heavy price for an ankle injury suffered by Harry Kane as he scored twice in a win 4-1 at Bournemouth on Sunday.
Spurs move above Liverpool into third in the Premier League, but it was a bittersweet victory with concerns over Kane’s fitness for both club and country.
Tottenham had endured a hugely disappointing Champions League exit at the hands of Juventus in midweek and still seemed to be reeling as they struggled in the opening 10 minutes.
Junior Stanislas had already hit the bar with a clear chance before he opened the scoring by firing low into the far corner just seven minutes in.
Kane did have the ball in the net when he collided with Asmir Begovic just before the half-hour mark, but the offside flag had already been raised.
And much worse was to come for the visitors when Kane failed to return as he limped away to protect the same right ankle that saw him spend two short spells on the sidelines last season.
Spurs didn’t wallow for long, though, as just a minute after Erik Lamela replaced Kane, they levelled when Dele Alli steered home Serge Aurier’s excellent cross.
The visitors always looked the likelier side to score after half-time and Son continued his scintillating form by acrobatically turning home Alli’s cross.
And with Bournemouth pushing for an equaliser, the South Korean had acres of space to run through and slot home his 18th goal of the season three minutes from time.
Indeed, only a super save from Begovic denied Son his hat-trick moments later.
But the Bournemouth ‘keeper was at fault as he parried Kieran Trippier’s cross into Aurier’s path, and the Ivorian headed home Spurs’ fourth in stoppage time.