Brentford 2-2 Tottenham: Kane and Hojbjerg combine to rescue point

The new post-World Cup reality for Harry Kane is the low-level abuse. Some songs about letting his country down, sniggering at the back when things go wrong and occasionally some gentle booing — even at Brentford, not the most hostile place he will visit.

The same old, same old is that the England captain remains the most brilliantly clinical center forward, still Tottenham’s chief goal threat, the man their best football revolves around — and no record is safe while he is around.

Here, just 16 days after his costly penalty miss in a World Cup quarter-final, Kane returned to action with his 13th Premier League goal of the season, moving within four of Jimmy Greaves at the top of the Spurs goal charts.

Harry Kane marked his return to Premier League football with a goal in Spurs' 2-2 draw away at Brentford on Boxing Day

Harry Kane marked his return to Premier League football with a goal in Spurs’ 2-2 draw away at Brentford on Boxing Day

The Tottenham captain (for the day) rose highest to head home and pull one back for Spurs in the second-half of the game

The Tottenham captain (for the day) rose highest to head home and pull one back for Spurs in the second-half of the game

The trouble was that Brentford were 2-0 up at the time and it was starting to seem as if the day might belong to Ivan Toney, another English striker with a new perspective on life after being omitted from the World Cup squad and hit with a barrage of charges for allegedly breaking FA gambling rules.

Kane pulled one back for Spurs with a magnificent header, 20 minutes into the second half, and led the now-familiar late charge after Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg leveled the scores at 2-2, six minutes later.

No one came closer to winning it. Kane leapt high to beat goalkeeper David Raya in the air only to see his header bounce against the bar, but Brentford did not deserve to lose.

They had been the better team for an hour and Toney looked set to steal the show, encouraging the home crowd down the dangerous road of taunting Kane about his penalty miss, as they sang, ‘Ivan Toney, he would’ve scored that’.

On the pitch, Brentford were in control and Toney was involved in the opener, with a header to release Bryan Mbeumo, whose cross from the left ended up in the net via a miscued volley by Mathias Jensen, a deflection by Clement Lenglet, a block by Fraser Forster and a goal off one of Vitaly Janelt’s knees.

Brentford had taken a two-goal lead after Vitaly Janelt and Ivan Toney's strikes either side of the half-time interval

Brentford had taken a two-goal lead after Vitaly Janelt and Ivan Toney’s strikes either side of the half-time interval

Toney arrived in the six-yard box to poke home and double their advantage in the match before Spurs came back to level

Toney arrived in the six-yard box to poke home and double their advantage in the match before Spurs came back to level

Kane thought he had won the game after flicking a header past David Raya - but he watched on as it struck the crossbar

Kane thought he had won the game after flicking a header past David Raya – but he watched on as it struck the crossbar

For Spurs, it was a ninth straight game in which they had conceded the first goal. Brentford is not an easy place for visiting teams to settle at the best of times.

Thomas Frank’s team have aggression and tenacity. They apply pressure by being first to loose balls in midfield and upset teams by playing direct to Toney in the air or by exploiting the pace of Mbeumo in behind.

They are lethal from set-pieces, including Jensen’s long throws. And all of this, on a surface that is certainly not among the slickest in the Premier League, builds an intensity to disturb opponents.

Heung-Min Son also returned to action and was one of their brighter players throughout the thrilling London derby

Heung-Min Son also returned to action and was one of their brighter players throughout the thrilling London derby

The north London side have made a habit of falling behind in their Premier League outings during the 2022/23 campaign

The north London side have made a habit of falling behind in their Premier League outings during the 2022/23 campaign

Tottenham in contrast seemed sluggish and undercooked. Perhaps unsurprisingly with two players, Kane and Ivan Perisic, who had only returned from World Cup duty at the end of last week.

There were flickers of improvement from Antonio Conte’s team either side of the interval, although eclipsed by Brentford’s second, scored from a corner conceded by Eric Dier slicing a clearance in entirely the wrong direction.

Mbeumo’s inswinger was flicked on by Christian Norgaard at the near post and Toney pounced to turn it over the line from close range, his 11th of the season in the Premier League. Then Kane stirred. First with his powerful header from a cross, delivered expertly from deep by Lenglet. ‘Under normal circumstances, I would’ve said, “No worries let them cross it from there”,’ said Bees boss Frank.

Hojbjerg levelled, with a composed finish after a low cross by Dejan Kulusevski had been deflected his way.

There were arguments about penalties in the second half. Kane wanted one for a pull by Ben Mee and Perisic wanted one for handball but referee David Coote was not interested. Nor was his VAR Stuart Attwell, more importantly.

And there were a couple of desperate dives in the closing stages. The first by Matt Doherty, which incensed Mathias Jorgensen and triggered a confrontation, and then by Mbeumo, who was booked for his theatrics by him.

Antonio Conte was seen barking orders to his side throughout their spectacular second-half comeback against the Bees

Antonio Conte was seen barking orders to his side throughout their spectacular second-half comeback against the Bees

Vitaly Janelt (L) gave the hosts the advantage early on after pounding on a mistake from the Tottenham back-line

Vitaly Janelt (L) gave the hosts the advantage early on after pounding on a mistake from the Tottenham back-line

Kane thought he'd won a penalty for his side after being bundled over by Ben Mee in the penalty box during the second-half

Kane thought he’d won a penalty for his side after being bundled over by Ben Mee in the penalty box during the second-half

In the end, honors were even and it was probably fair. Mbeumo skied a great chance for Brentford’s third and the hosts resisted a late flurry. Raya made saves from Davinson Sanchez and Son Heung-min and breathed a sigh of relief when Kane’s header bounced to safety off the woodwork.

Among all his other records, the England captain has 10 Premier League goals on Boxing Day. It’s more than anyone else. King of the cold turkey. Not something to be sneaked at.

BRENTFORD 2-2 SPURS PLAYER RATINGS

Brentford (3-5-2):raya 6; Jorgensen 6.5, Pinnock 6, Mee 6; Roerslev 6, Jensen 7 (Ghoddos 67, 6), Norgaard 7 (Dasilva 82), Janelt 7.5, Henry 7.5; Toney 8, Mbeumo 7.5 (Wissa 82).

Subs: Cox, Goode, Canos, Jansson, Lewis-Potter, Damsgaard.

Goals: Janelt, Toney

bookings: Jorgensen, Toney

Manager: Thomas Frank 7

Spurs (3-4-3): Forster 5.5; Tanganga 5 (Sanchez 67, 6), Dier 5.5, Lenglet 6.5 (Davies 90+5); Doherty 6, Bissouma 5.5, Hojbjerg 7, Perisic 7.5; Kulusevski 6.5, Kane 7.5, Son 6.5.

Subs: Lloris, Skipp, Gil, Royal, Sessegnon, Sarr, Davies, White

Goals: Kane, Hojbjerg

bookings: Bissouma

Manager: Antonio Conte 6

Ref:David Coote 6

Relive Sportsmail’s live blog of the Premier League clash between Brentford and Tottenham below.

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