Norwich City 0 Tottenham 3
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City's relegation fears deepened with a 3-0 Premier League defeat to title-challenging Tottenham at Carrow Road on Tuesday night.
England hopefuls Dele Alli and Harry Kane pounced in the first half before Kane notched a second in stoppage time.
The Canaries may have felt aggrieved at the manner of Kane's first goal from the penalty spot, when Seb Bassong was adjudged to have hauled down Alli, but there could be no complaints at the visitors' overall dominance.
Alli notched after barely two minutes when Declan Rudd could only parry Christian Eriksen's shot before Kane coolly slotted from the spot when the midfielder was hauled down and then added a third in the 90th minute. The striker also hit the woodwork in either half on a miserable night for the Canaries where Tottenham had far too much guile and class for Alex Neil's side.
Neil made five changes from the starting line up that lost 5-4 in the Premier League to Liverpool. Timm Klose made his debut for the club following his January move from Wolfsburg with Russell Martin and Robbie Brady making way in the backline. Captain Martin was on the bench but Brady and Graham Dorrans were left out feeling the effects of the sickness bug Neil alluded to in the pre-match build-up.
Youssouf Mulumbu partnered the fit-again Alex Tettey, who replaced Martin as skipper, and Matt Jarvis also started. Wes Hoolahan and Nathan Redmond had to settle for a place on the bench with Steven Naismith the chief support to Dieumerci Mbokani. Chelsea loan signing Patrick Bamford was not part of the matchday squad after his recent move from Stamford Bridge while Gary O'Neil served the final match of his three-game ban.
Mauricio Pochettino recalled England hopeful Alli after Tottenham's weekend FA Cup romp at Colchester United. Kane led the line back at Carrow Road where he had a brief loan stint under ex-City chief Chris Hughton.
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Both sets of players, support staff and fans paused for a moment's applause prior to kick-off in memory of Hall of Famer Tommy Bryceland, who passed away recently.
City were rocked with just 90 seconds on the clock when Alli tapped home from close range after Rudd could only parry Eriksen's low shot - the young midfielder reacting quicker than former Tottenham defender Bassong.
Mbokani's aerial threat created a half-chance in reply but Toby Alderweireld hacked clear with Jarvis in close attendance.
Naismith was convinced he should have had a penalty when Kyle Walker shoved the Scottish international to the ground from City's first corner, but referee Friend was clearly unconvinced.
Tettey skied a shot over the bar as the home fans tried to urge Neil's men into a concerted reply. Norwich's brittleness was painfully evident again when Alderwiereld took Klose under a cross, but headed wide from eight yards.
Neil's pre-match comments regarding Tottenham's athleticism and youthful endeavour looked more like a prophecy with City creaking at every set piece in the early sparring.
Mbokani finally pressed Hugo Lloris into action in the 14th minute with an angled low shot the French international dropped on at his near post.
Tottenham's willingness to raid in wide areas was a marked feature of their Boxing Day success and both Ivo Pinto and Martin Olsson were finding themselves isolated far too often in the opening quarter.
Heung-Min Son cut inside the Swede but lashed a rising shot well over. Son then back-heeled wide at the near post after Kane embarrassed Pinto.
Jarvis' foray earned some temporary respite but he was pushed across Tottenham's penalty area before carving a shot wide.
Tottenham's smoothness across midfield, with Alli given the freedom to roam and Mousa Dembele patrolling deeper alongside Eric Dier, was proving a major problem for Neil's men.
In the brief moments when either Mulumbu or Tettey managed to stem the flow, City's lack of precision in possession simply gifted Pochettino's side easy turnovers.
Norwich's night deteriorated further on the half-hour mark when Spurs were awarded a penalty after Alli tumbled inside the box under pressure from Bassong as he tried apply the finishing touch to another Kane strike parried by Rudd.
Kane confidently stroked home his second penalty of the season against the Canaries with a low finish into Rudd's bottom left-hand corner.
The England striker then twisted his way past Pinto but thumped a strike against the foot of Rudd's near post.
Alli planted a free header wide from barely six yards with City now in disarray defensively. Tettey rumbled forward but hacked over from 25 yards in a sign of increasing desperation.
City's support bayed for a spot kick when Kevin Wimmer appeared to shove Naismith but Friend again remained unmoved.
Neil opted to keep the same personnel for the start of the second period but Pochettino withdrew the impressive Alli for Nacer Chadli. Naismith's flick header from Jarvis' cross dropped just wide in the 52nd minute with Lloris beaten but normal service was resumed when Kane pounced on Klose's indecision at the other end only to miscue from 16 yards.
Bassong bundled home in the 54th minute from point blank range but the centre-back had clearly strayed into an offside position attempting to divert Naismith's initial shot.
The Scot then unleashed a swinging effort wide of Lloris' far post but the hosts were now far more competitive in the midfield skirmishes after Tottenham's total dominance of the opening period.
Neil made his first move from the bench with Cameron Jerome replacing Jarvis in the 70th minute and City striving for a goal to drag the game back into the balance.
Vadis Odjidja was the next replacement as Naismith made way amid signs the Canaries' stirring response since the interval was running out of steam.
Pinto picked out Howson's overlapping run but the midfielder's cross drifted over. Kane should have punished City in the 82nd minute when Mulumbu was robbed by the England man, who slammed another shot against the post before Bassong completed the clearance.
Tettey picked up his 10th booking of the season late on for fouling Walker which will trigger a two-match ban starting with this weekend's trip to Aston Villa. Mulumbu then lifted a half-chance over but City were finally put out of their misery when Eriksen dispossessed Olsson to roll in Kane who rifled past Rudd.
• Norwich City: Rudd; Pinto, Klose, Bassong, Olsson, Howson, Mulumbu, Tettey, Jarvis (Jerome 70), Naismith (Odjidja 74), Mbokani. Subs (not used): Ruddy, Martin, Hoolahan, Redmond, Bennett.
• Bookings: Bassong (foul on Alli, 29), Tettey (foul on Walker, 89)
• Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Alderweireld, Wimmer, Rose, Dembele, Dier, Alli (Chadli 45), Eriksen (Lamela 90), Son (Carroll 69), Kane. Subs (not used): Vorm, Davies, Trippier, Bentaleb.
• Bookings: Alderweireld (foul on Naismith, 58), Rose (timewasting, 88)
• Goals: Alli (2), Kane (30, 90)
• Added on time: 1 minute / 4 minutes
• Referee: Kevin Friend (Leics)
• Attendance: 27,067