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Spurs’ Euro hopes dented by Villa defeat

Tottenham’s bid to qualify for the Europa League suffered a blow in a 2-1 defeat against Aston Villa

Tottenham’s bid to qualify for the Europa League suffered a blow in a 2-1 defeat against Aston Villa on Wednesday in what could be Harry Kane’s last home game for the club.

With fifth and sixth place finishes securing a place in next season’s Europa League, Tottenham are involved in the scramble to make it into the tournament.

Seventh place would bring entry into a play-off for the new Europa Conference League.

But Ryan Mason’s sixth-placed side will have to wait until their last game of the season at Leicester on Sunday to discover their European destiny after a second defeat in their last three games.

Kane was named in Tottenham’s starting line-up just days after reportedly telling the club he wants to leave.

The England captain is keen to move on as he chases the first trophies of his career, with Manchester City, Manchester United and Paris Saint Germain among the clubs linked with the striker.

There were 10,000 fans at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as crowds return to stadiums on a limited basis after the UK eased coronavirus restrictions this week.

Those supporters quickly urged Kane to stay as they chanted “Harry Kane, he’s one of our own” before kick-off.

Tottenham’s Steven Bergwijn was making his first league start since February and the Dutch winger celebrated his return with a superb strike in the eighth minute.

Bergwijn robbed Marvelous Nakamba, held off two challenges and smashed a rising drive into the roof of the net from just inside the area for his first goal this season.

But Tottenham’s lead lasted only 12 minutes as Sergio Reguilon scored a comical own goal, the left-back somehow managing to slice Nakamba’s cross past Hugo Lloris from 16 yards out.

Villa punished more sloppy Reguilon defending in the 39th minute when Bertrand Traore pressured the defender into surrendering possession, allowing Ollie Watkins to fire home from close-range.

Despite an improved second half, Tottenham couldn’t stage a fightback and were booed off at full-time.

Kane applauded fans on all sides of the stadium during a post-match lap of honour which may have served as his farewell.

“He means a lot. He’s a Tottenham player. I’ve answered so many questions on Harry Kane in the last 24 hours. I’m willing to speak about the game but not individuals,” Mason said.

“I’m very disappointed with the result. It wasn’t how we wanted to finish the season in front of our fans.”

Tottenham’s bitter rivals Arsenal kept alive their hopes of qualifying for the Europa League with a vital 3-1 win at Crystal Palace.

Mikel Arteta’s troubled team took the lead through Nicolas Pepe’s 35th minute volley from Kieran Tierney’s cross.

In Roy Hodgson’s last home match as Palace boss, Christian Benteke equalised with a header from Andros Townsend’s 62nd minute free-kick.

But Brazilian forward Gabriel Martinelli tapped in Martin Odegaard’s cross in stoppage-time before Pepe struck again with virtually the last kick.

With their season finale against Brighton to come, Arsenal sit one point behind Tottenham in ninth place.

Everton remain in the hunt for a Europa League berth after Richarlison’s 48th minute header from Gylfi Sigurdsson’s corner sealed a 1-0 win against Wolves.

Around 6,500 fans at Goodison Park saw Richarlison clinch Everton’s first home victory in seven attempts as they climbed to eighth place, level on points with Tottenham.

Newcastle beat relegated Sheffield United 1-0 in front of 10,000 fans at St James’ Park.

Joe Willock gave Newcastle the lead on the stroke of half-time with a thumping header from Jacob Murphy’s cross.

The 21-year-old midfielder, on loan from Arsenal, is the youngest player to score in six successive Premier League games.

Fifth-placed Liverpool, winners of their last three games, will go above fourth placed Leicester on goal difference if they beat Burnley at Turf Moor.

Also on Wednesday, West Ham head to relegated West Bromwich Albion looking to improve their prospects of a Europa League berth.

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