Football: Red-hot Kane heads Spurs into last 32, Sturridge injured

Harry Kane celebrates after scoring the first goal for Tottenham.
Harry Kane celebrates after scoring the first goal for Tottenham.PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (AFP) - Harry Kane headed Tottenham into the Europa League last 32, the red-hot England striker's ninth goal in six matches earning Spurs a 1-0 win at Azerbaijani champions Qarabag on Thursday (Nov 26).

Kane's decisive second half goal assured the Group J leaders qualification into the knockout stages with a game to spare.

Joining the Premier League side in the next round were Krasnodar, Villarreal, Basel, Schalke 04, Athletic Bilbao, and Lazio.

The North Londoners could probably have done without the 8,000 kilometre-round trip to the Azerbaijan capital just three days before the visit of Chelsea to White Hart Lane.

Despite the imminent arrival of the ailing Premier League champions Spurs coach Mauricio Pochettino fielded a strong side at Qarabag's Azersun Arena in Baku.

He made three changes from the XI that brushed aside West Ham 4-1 last weekend, with Kieran Trippier, Ryan Mason and Ben Davies starting.

Mousa Dembele, Danny Rose and Kyle Walker were rested, while Erik Lamela, Nabil Bentaleb, Nacer Chadli and Alex Pritchard, were sidelined.

The first hour was unforgettable, the game finally bursting into life when forward Son Heung-min smashed a shot from the edge of the box with the ball hitting the crossbar.

Shortly after Qarabag's keeper Ibrahim Sehic edged Eric Dier's angled shot wide.

Qarabag's Spanish winger Dani Quintana then forced Spurs' keeper Hugo Lloris into action down at the other end.

Having sprung to life Tottenham looked the more likely to break the deadlock, and in the 78th minute they deservedly took the lead.

Christian Erikssen fired in their umpteenth corner from the left with in-form Kane flicking in Son's header.

"Very happy to be qualified! It wasn't easy but delighted with the win!" tweeted Kane.

Spurs' Premier League rivals Liverpool host Bordeaux later without England forward Daniel Sturridge, who was expected to return from a knee injury but was ruled out with a fresh foot problem.

Manager Jurgen Klopp made four changes from the line-up that downed Manchester City 4-1 - with defender Kolo Toure, midfielders Joe Allen and Jordon Ibe, and striker Christian Benteke starting.

A win will secure Liverpool qualification from Group B irrespective of their closing tie with FC Sion, who came unstuck 2-0 at Rubin Kazan.

In Glasgow, winless Celtic, bottom of Group A on two points, must beat Ajax to keep alive their hopes of progressing.

Elsewhere, Russian side Krasnodar ran out 1-0 winners over already-qualified Borussia Dortmund to go through from Group C.

Also through were Spaniards Villarreal courtesy of Viktoria Plzen's 1-0 loss to Minsk.

Swiss champions Basel drew 2-2 with 10-man Fiorentina to go through from Group I while Sporting Lisbon boosted their prospects of escaping from Group H with a 4-2 win at Lokomotiv Moscow.

Lazio continued their Europa League campagin with 3-1 win over Dniepropetrovsk.