THE EMIRATES FA CUP THIRD ROUND
SUNDAY 10TH JANUARY, 2016
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2(1) LEICESTER CITY 2(1)
Kane, 89 (pen)
Referee:- Robert Madley
Assistants:- Adrian Holmes & Michael Mullarkey
Fourth official:- Roger East
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Vorm; Trippier, Alderweireld, Wimmer, Rose (Capt.); Dier (sub Bentaleb, 68), Carroll (sub Kane, 68); Eriksen, Onomah, Chadli (sub Alli, 73); Son
(Kane took over the captain's armband)
Subs not used:- Lloris; Davies; Lamela, Winks
Booked:- Bentaleb (foul on Dyer)
Leicester (4-2-3-1):- Schmeichel (Capt.); De Laet, Wasilewski, Benalouane, Chilwell; Inler, Kante (sub Okazaki, 46); Dyer, King, Gray (sub Albrighton, 65); Ulloa
Subs not used:- Schwarzer; Morgan, Simpson; Mahrez, Drinkwater
Booked:- Wasilewski (foul on Rose), Schmeichel (time)
Kane keeps the path to glory open.
You just can't keep Harry Kane out of the headlines! He stepped off the bench for the last quarter of the game, and stepped up to the plate in style with two minutes of time remaining to fire a penalty convincingly past Leicester goalkeeper (and captain for the day) Kasper Schmeichel to keep Spurs in this FA Cup tie.
Over 70% of first half possession had effectively counted for nothing after Eriksen's early goal was levelled by a near post header from a corner by Waslilewski. Then when Claudio Ranieri's second half substitute Shinji Okaziki scored a brilliant individual goal within minutes of the re-start, it began to look like Spurs might take another embarrassing early exit from the competition they once mastered.
Both teams made wholesale changes. Pochettino switched seven players, and Ranieri changed eight. We can expect to see radically different players, if not different styles on Wednesday. The ability of what was effectively Leicester's reserve team to fend off the Spurs attacks is an indication of Ranieri's achievement in making "The Foxes" top four, if not true title contenders.
Leicester did not take the full away FA Cup allocation, but certainly brought a good vocal crowd with them. It was a good house this evening, with plenty of new faces in the crowd, as once again, many season ticket holders decided to stay away.
Toby Alderweireld was the only survivor from last week's back five, but Dier and Carroll were once again the defensive duo. Josh Onomah was given a start between Eriksen on the right and Chadli on his left. Son played up front and I have to say I felt Chadli might have been better equipped to deputise for Kane. You could also say that Son was not playing in his best position, which only served to illustrate the need for a true back-up striker for Kane.
Leicester's star striker Jamie Vardy was injured, so there was no head to head comparison with Kane. "The Foxes" other star player was left unused on the bench too. We will see Mahrez on Wednesday, and quite possibly Vardy from what I hear.
Spurs dominated the early possession, and indeed that of the whole first half, during which Schmeichel appeared less than certain with his handling, but Spurs failed to take advantage. Kevin Wimmer, making only his fourth appearance of the season sent an excellent ball to Danny Rose (Spurs captain today), who had advanced down the left flank after 6 minutes. Rose's powerful cross gave Schmeichel worries, but passed un-touched across the area.
Spurs took an early lead after 8 minutes, when Josh Onomah found Chadli in the inside left position. Chadli's cross/shot was only parried by the goalkeeper, and ran to Eriksen, who fired home with a right foot shot across the keeper. The signs were very promising.
Wasilewski took an early yellow card for a foul on Danny Rose. Schmeichel punched clear Eriksen's free kick. Some neat interplay between Son, Chadli, and Onomah ended with Son's effort being held by Schmeichel.
Leicester won a corner out of the blue, which was taken by recent signing Demarai Gray from the right and headed in from the near post by centre-back Marcin Wasilewski.
Spurs continued to dominate possession without reward. Carroll hit a good ball down the left for Rose, who passed inside to the industrious Heung-min Son. Son hit a cross, but Eriksen's shot was actually held by Schmeichel, whose touch had previously been less than certain.
There was a little panic in defence when Michel Vorm charged out of his area, and could only clear as far as Andy King, whose speculative shot took a deflection and was held in front of his line by the Spurs keeper, being granted a rare start today.
Spurs had a period of many passes, most of which were unadventurous. The move ended with another decent Carroll pass to Rose, whose cross was cleared. Josh Onomah was once again involved in a decent Spurs attack, which culminated in an Eriksen pass to Chadli, whose shot was saved and held by Schmeichel diving low to his right. Chadli then displayed considerable skill taking the ball into the box from the left , winning a corner. From the corner, Trippier hit a shot from distance over the bar.
Eric Dier was not shy with his passes, hitting the ball with power to Trippier on the right. Trippier fed Eriksen whose shot was blocked and ran back to Dier, who also hit a shot which was parried by the goalkeeper. In truth, Spurs should have gained more from their first half domination.
Okazaki replaced Kante after the break. Danny Rose committed a rather needless foul on Nathan Dyer and the free kick was taken by Inler. Benalouane's header was pushed wide by Vorm for a corner, and following a second corner, substitute Okazaki scored a great individual goal, cutting into the box from the left, beating two defenders, before firing past Vorm. Someone said to me after the game that he should have been stopped, but I said that Ricky Villa should have been stopped in 1981. Sometimes you have to give credit to individual players. Okazaki had one effort blocked or saved but was there to follow up.
Spurs pressed for an equaliser, but rarely managed to put Schmeichel under the same pressure he had experienced in the first half. Schmeichel took every opportunity to slow the game down, much to the chagrin of the home fans.
Tom Carroll took a Spurs corner on the right and there was a muted appeal for handball in the Leicester box. Son hit a ball to the back of the area for Chadli, but the Belgian could not reach the ball. Son then had a shot blocked from an Eriksen corner. Despite having scored the Spurs opener, Eriksen was today guilty of too often failing to clear the first man at corners.
Carroll fed the ball to Chadli towards the left of the area. Chadli wanted the ball on his right foot and saw his shot blocked by the time he tried it on. A good move by Eriksen and Son ended with a chance for Onomah, whose shot won a corner. Leicester countered and Dyer hit a shot wide of the target. The BBC viewers were probably pleased, but Spurs and their fans were getting more and more frustrated.
Another Carroll pass found Son, who won another corner. At the other end, Gray won a corner for Leicester when his shot took a slight touch somewhere on its path. Gray was then replaced by Albrighton. This was followed by a double substitution by Pochettino, with Kane replacing Carroll, and Bentaleb replacing Dier.
Pochettino seemed to be a little uncertain about where to play his men, with Eriksen initially playing beside Dier, then Chadli. When Chadli was replaced by Dele Alli, Eriksen reverted to the more defensive position.
To be honest, it didn't look as if Spurs would find a way back into the game. Okazaki headed wide across the goalmouth following a cross by Albrighton, before Alderweireld tried a shot that went over the bar, following good work by Onomah and Alli. With five minutes left, Kane at last had some impact when he passed inside from the right to Bentaleb, whose shot was parried by Schmeichel.
Dele Alli had an audacious back-headed effort following another one of those long balls by Toby Alderweireld.
With three minutes of normal time remaining Danny Rose had got into the Leicester area and was trying to get past Dyer. Some see it as an unfortunate decision against Dyer, but others see it as a definite handball against the Leicester man, who apparently put his arm up to prevent Rose's ball passing him. Referee Robert Madley unhesitatingly pointed to the spot, and Harry Kane was the hero by confidently planting the ball to the right of Schmeichel, who had been booked for his delaying tactics.
We live to fight another day; to be in the fourth round draw with non-league Eastleigh, and to battle with Leicester in 9 or 10 days' time. In the meantime, we are number 6 in tomorrow's draw.
Without doubt we will see two different teams on Wednesday night when we compete for Premier League points.
I am starting to think of January and February 1999 when we faced Wimbledon so many times before going on to to beat Leicester in a Cup Final. Could there be an omen here?
Did you know? - Danny Rose is only the fourth player to wear the Captain's armband for Spurs his season. The others were Hugo Lloris (25), and Jan Vertonghen (1) and Harry Kane (1).
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