LONDON (Reuters) – Son Heung-min ended his scoring drought in stunning fashion with a sublime hat-trick as Tottenham Hotspur crushed Leicester City 6-2 to move joint top of the Premier League on Saturday.
Rodrigo Bentancur’s first goal for Tottenham was separating the sides in an entertaining tussle but Son, who started on the bench, exploded back to form with three goals in 14 minutes.
The South Korean, the Premier League’s joint-top scorer last season with 23 goals, had not scored in Tottenham’s first eight games and had lost his place to Dejan Kulusevski.
But he responded in emphatic fashion to steal the limelight, curling an unstoppable right-footer into the top corner, then a left-footer into the other side and completed his hat-trick with a goal initially ruled out for offside.
Son’s relief was palpable as he walked off with the match ball as the ecstatic home fans sang his name.
“I have been disappointed, the team has been doing really, really good but I was disappointed with my performance,” Son said. “I knew goals were coming and I wasn’t worried. I’ve always had great supporters, team mates and coaches behind me.”
Victory lifted Tottenham level on 17 points with champions Manchester City although Arsenal can regain top spot if they beat Brentford away on Sunday.
Leicester remain bottom with one point from seven games and the pressure building on manager Brendan Rodgers.
The visitors took an early lead with a twice-taken penalty by Youri Tielemans after Hugo Lloris had saved his first effort.
Davinson Sanchez brought down James Justin and although Lloris saved Tielemans’s initial spot kick he was ruled to have moved off his line after a VAR check.
Tottenham were not behind long as Kulusevski’s pinpoint cross was headed in by Kane in the eighth minute.
Tottenham went ahead in the 21st minute as defender Eric Dier marked his return to the England squad with a glancing header from Ivan Perisic’s corner.
Leicester were lively in attack though and James Maddison’s superb clipped finish sent them in level at halftime.
Bentancur seized on a mistake by Wilfred Ndidi to restore Tottenham’s lead in the 47th minute with a shot off the post but Son went on to steal the show.
He replaced Richarlison in the 59th minute and 14 minutes later he cut on to his right foot and sent a shot screaming past Danny Ward to spark wild celebrations.
He was not finished though. This time he was picked out by Kane and Son had only one thing on his mind as he stepped inside and curled a shot past Ward from outside the area.
With Leicester falling apart he was then played in by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s through ball and beat Ward.
There was an anxious wait for a VAR check and a huge roar when the original offside decision was overturned.
Tottenham are now unbeaten in 13 Premier League games and will head into the international break on a high.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; editing by Clare Fallon)