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Published: 21:07 | 18/4/16

Tottenham cruise past Stoke

North London side close gap on Leicester to five points

Harry Kane and Dele Alli each netted twice as Tottenham beat Stoke City 4-0 at the Britannia Stadium to keep up the pressure on leaders Leicester City at the top of the Premier League table.

Tottenham, who now top the Premier League stats charts both in attack and defence with 64 goals scored and just 25 conceded, lie five points behind Claudio Ranieri's side with four games of the season to go.

The title race momentum is undoubtedly with Tottenham after a scintillating, brash, energy-filled victory over an admittedly unmotivated Stoke side, although Leicester will still secure the Premier League crown with another eight points from their final four matches at home to Swansea, away at Manchester United, at home to Everton and their final-day fixture at Chelsea.

Kane netted the opener on nine minutes, cutting past Philipp Wollscheid from the left-hand edge of the area from Mousa Dembele's pass before curling a shot past Shay Given in the Stoke goal.

The 133-time capped Ireland international, who turns 40 on Wednesday, was preferred in goal to Jakob Haugaard but his hopes of ousting Darren Randolph as Martin O'Neill's No 1 in France this summer took a dent with a hesitant and unconvincing performance against a rampant Spurs' side.

Given, who signed for Stoke on a free transfer from Aston Villa last summer, last started in the Premier League in Villa’s 6-1 defeat to Southampton in May 2015, and has now conceded ten goals in his last two matches in England's top flight.

Tottenham had a great chance to double their lead before the break, but Christian Eriksen hit the crossbar when one-on-one with Given following a lovely round-the-corner pass from Alli.

The visiting fans were singing "Leicester City, we're coming for you" at the start of the second half, and the players on the pitch got the message with fast counter-attacking tactics that were copied straight from the King Power playbook.

The North London side, who had gone close through Erik Lamela and Kane, finally doubled their lead midway through the second half when Alli beat Given after being set free beyond Ryan Shawcross by a wonderful disguised pass from Eriksen.

Kane netted his second of the night, and his 24th Premier League goal of the season, with a tap in from Lamela's pass on 71 minutes to kill the match as a contest.

It also shared the blushes of Alli, who, after rounding a flat-footed Given a minute earlier, had somehow contrived to hit the post with an empty goal gaping.

But the 20-year-old brushed aside the embarrassment, not to mention the overt frustration of his manager Mauricio Pochettini on the touchline, to score his second of the night, and 10th league goal of the season, with a volley into the bottom corner of the net from Eriksen's cross.

Tottenham, who have a 13 goal advantage over Leicester on goal difference, meet West Brom next Monday at White Hart Lane before a visit to Chelsea on Monday 2 May.

They then host Southampton on Sunday 8 May before concluding their season with a visit to St James Park to take on Newcastle seven days later.

By Nick Royle.

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