Spurs survive second-half Stoke scare to reach League Cup semis
Tottenham Hotspur made difficult work of their League Cup quarterfinal clash with EFL Championship side Stoke City, but ultimately escaped the wet, windy Wednesday night at the bet365 Stadium with a 3-1 victory.
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Jose Mourinho’s men join Manchester City and Brentford, all of whom await the winner of fourth quarterfinal between Everton and Manchester United, in the semifinals set to be played the first week of January.
Spurs went ahead in the 22nd minute as Gareth Bale bagged his third goal since returning to Tottenham. Harry Winks provided the perfect ball over the top, picking out the Welshman near the penalty spot. A deft nod was all that was required to ever so slightly redirect the ball inside the far post with Andy Lonergan stuck in place the whole time.
Tottenham should have gone 2-0 ahead in the 36th minute thanks to some smooth link-up play between Harry Kane and Dele Alli. Kane quickly turned played Alli, who was making just his fourth start of the season (all competitions), into acres of space the penalty area, but Alli hit his left-footed strike into Longeran’s feet.
Alli had another fantastic scoring chance — one he probably thought he’d put away — just before halftime, but Longeran made a fantastic diving save to his left after Alli curled a beauty from just outside the penalty area.
Bale, the goal-scorer, was subbed off at halftime, replaced by Son Heung-min.
The Potters eventually made Tottenham pay for failing to take their chances, drawing level in the 53rd minute through Jordan Thompson. Jacob Brown played the ball from right to left, finding Thompson at the far post where he snuck the ball into a tight window between Hugo Lloris and the post.
The 1-1 scoreline lasted 16 minutes, during which Stoke looked the more likely side to score the next goal, until Ben Davies uncorked a low laser off the inside of the post and into the back of the net from 30 yards out. Longeran couldn’t quite get a hand to it as Davies made the most of every usable inch of the goal frame.
With the game still hanging in the balance, Kane put it to bed with a powerful finish just under the crossbar in the 81st minute. Moussa Sissoko fed the ball through to England’s no. 9, and he made quick work of the best chance he saw all game.