Pre-season friendlies. Usually pretty forgettable, right? Not Tottenham v Juventus.
Harry Kane’s lob from the halfway line was a worthy winner as Spurs beat the Italian champions 3-2 in a thrilling encounter in Singapore.
What made Kane’s outrageous finish even sweeter was that it was Wojciech Szczesny, a former Arsenal keeper, who was left scrambling as he realised the ball was flying over his head and into the net.
His goal capped an evening on which more than 50,000 fans at the National Stadium were treated to a showcase of world-class talent in this International Champions Cup match.
It even led to our reporter Simon Stone to say it could be “the best game I see all season – and we are only in July”.
Why was it so good?
Juventus named a starting XI which included five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo, alongside serial winners Leonardo Bonucci, Mario Mandzukic and Federico Bernardeschi.
Gianluigi Buffon, 41, was back in goal for the Italian giants too, while new signings Matthijs de Ligt and Adrien Rabiot came on as second-half substitutes.
And Tottenham didn’t hold back either. As well as Kane, Son Heung-min, Lucas Moura and Dele Alli were all on show. There was also a first look at new record signing Tanguy Ndombele.
A feast of talent.
After a credit card was used instead of a coin in the pre-match toss, Spurs got the game under way with intensity and it paid off, as Erik Lamela gave them a half-time lead.
But Gonzalo Higuain completed a terrific one-touch passing move to equalise, and then Ronaldo gave the fans in Singapore what they wanted with a thunderous finish.
Then on came Ndombele. His first touch? An assist for Moura’s equaliser. His third touch? A fizzing strike which flew inches wide of the left post. Quite an impression.
But one young supporter wasn’t interested. He had been too busy getting past the security guards in order to find his way over to the Juventus dugout.
There he high-fived Ronaldo, who was laughing at the boy’s determination, before sitting down in front of Leonardo Bonucci and having a chat.
Meanwhile, the clock ticked on and a penalty shootout was looming. Kane had other ideas, though, and out came his audacious strike from the halfway line in the third minute of stoppage time.
Tottenham players celebrated deliriously, the crowd went wild and the commentator’s voice almost broke. It felt like a Champions League final. But it was only a pre-season friendly…
Is Kane the new Nayim?
Tottenham fans already have a chant about scoring from the halfway line – relating to a goal by their former midfielder Nayim.
He had actually left Spurs by the time he scored it, and if you look up footage on the web, it was not really from the halfway line.
Not that Tottenham fans care. It was a stunning, dipping long-range shot for Real Zaragoza in the last minute of extra-time to defeat Spurs’ north London rivals Arsenal and win the 1995 European Cup Winners’ Cup.
Spurs have scored goals from further out than either Kane or Nayim have managed, though – just ask two of their former goalkeepers.
Pat Jennings scored in the 1967 Charity Shield against Manchester United at Old Trafford with a long kick that bounced over opposing keeper Alex Stepney.
Forty years later, Paul Robinson found the net with a free-kick from inside his own half during a Premier League match against Watford.
Away from Spurs, there are quite a few Premier League names who have scored from the sort of distances that have left crowds gasping in disbelief.
Xabi Alonso found the net from inside his own half twice in a calendar year for Liverpool – striking from 70 yards at the end of an FA Cup third-round win at Luton in January 2006, then catching out Newcastle during a Premier League match at Anfield the following September.
Wayne Rooney twice scored in the Premier League from enormous distances against West Ham – hitting a wonderful goal from the halfway line for Manchester United at Upton Park in March 2014, and then arguably surpassing it with a superb first-time strike past a startled Joe Hart for Everton in November 2017.
Rooney has not lost his touch since moving to the United States either – striking from inside his own half for DC United against Orlando City in June this year.
And who could forget Charlie Adam’s stunner against Chelsea while playing for Stoke in April 2015? It led to David Baddiel reminding us that Pele had missed when he attempted the same thing at the 1970 World Cup.
Perhaps the most memorable long-range strike, though, remains that of David Beckham. He announced himself to the football world when he scored from the halfway line for Manchester United against Wimbledon in August 1996.
How you reacted to Kane’s goal
Combat Carl: Harry Kane, take a bow!
Kyle: What a brilliant goal to win a fantastic match. If this doesn’t whet your appetite for the new season nothing will. Tottenham are a joy to watch and this is coming from a Newcastle fan.
Phil Baker: Harry Kane you hero. What a banger! Pretty sure we’ll win the league this year.
Ryan Gerbosi: Harry Kane, tap-in merchant.
Alexis: This new and improved Harry Kane is going to be absolutely sensational this season…
TheStudgeRole: Always rated Harry Kane…
Ian Youngs: Sign of things to come this season. Harry Kane and Spurs are out to win trophies…