FA Cup: Spurs blow lead, erase deficit to top Saints
For the second time in 11 days’ time, Tottenham Hotspur coughed up a lead to Southampton in the fourth round of the FA Cup, only this time Jose Mourinho’s side was fortunate enough to escape with victory on the back of their own comeback capped off by an 87th-minute penalty kick.
From 1-0 up inside the opening quarter-hour, to a 2-1 down with under minutes to go, to 3-2 in a span of nine minutes, Tottenham are through to the fifth round where they’ll host Norwich City.
Spurs went ahead in the 12th minute and appeared to be off to the races. Ryan Sessegnon raced into the penalty area one-on-one with Jack Stephens before losing out and having the ball tackled away, but it fell directly to Tanguy Ndombele just outside the box. Ndombele hit it hard and low, first-time, and straight at Stephens as he returned to his feet. The ball ricocheted off the Saints defender and left goalkeeper Angus Gunn anchored in place.
The lead didn’t even last until halftime, though, as Shane Long put home a rebound after Hugo Lloris made a diving save in the 34th minute. It was Nathan Redmond’s initial shot which came in from the edge of the area, only to be saved by the outstretch Lloris. He couldn’t hold the ball and no one in a white shirt arrived to clear the ball away before Long reached the top of the six-yard box and slotted it near post.
Saints took their lead on a devastating counter-attack in the 72nd minute. It began with a Spurs corner kick at one end of the field and Danny Ings tucking the ball in the far corner at the other end.
That lead lasted almost no time at all, though, as Lucas Moura had Spurs level within five minutes. Lucas and Dele Alli played a quick one-two outside the penalty area and the Brazilian tucked his left-footed finish home just as well as Ings had done minutes earlier.
Son Heung-min won, and converted, the penalty kick that proved the difference on the day, but it was once again Alli who pulled the strings and set up one of the game’s crucial moments. His through ball came cut Saints’ defense in half and left Gunn with no choice but to rush off his line, though it must be said the contact he made with Son was minimal, if any at all.
Spurs’ fifth-round clash with Norwich will take place back at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium midweek on the week starting March 2.