CARABAO CUP THIRD ROUND
WEDNESDAY 26TH SEPTEMBER, 2018
(8pm - at MK Dons Stadium)
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2(0) WATFORD 2(0)
(Spurs won 4-2 on penalties)
Dele (pen), 82
Referee:- Lee Mason
Assistants:- Matthew Wilkes and Marc Perry
Fourth Official:- David Coote
Spurs (4-3-2-1):- Gazzaniga; Aurier, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Davies; Sissoko (sub Son, 64), Wanyama (sub Dembele, 64), Winks; Lamela, Dele (Capt.); Lucas Moura (sub Llorente, 70)
Subs not used:- Whiteman; Walker-Peters, Foyth; Dier
Watford (4-2-3-1):- Gomes; Navarro (sub Kabasele, 77), Mariappa (Capt.), Cathcart, Masina; Chalobah, Wilmot; Femenia (sub Hughes, 68), Quina, Sema (sub Capoue, 83); Success
Subs not used:- Dahlberg; Holebas; Pereyra, Gray
Sent off:- Kabasele, 81 (preventing goal-scoring opportunity)
Dele’s night in dramatic penalty shoot-out win!
Dele Alli was Spurs’ captain on the night he returned to his old stomping ground of Milton Keynes for this “home” Carabao Cup tie against Watford. Not only did Dele win and score Spurs’ equalising penalty in the second half, but he also sealed Spurs’ perfect shoot-out win with the fourth and final penalty against one-time Spurs keeper Heurelho Gomes. Watford fans taunted the home side at one stage with a chant of “You’re supposed to be at home” and had it not been for their full attendance and that of about 1,000 MK Dons season ticket holders, the attendance would have been pretty meagre in a stadium 50 miles from our home. As it was the stadium held a decent crowd of over 23,000. The team was led out to the sound of Chas & Dave’s rendition of “Glory, Glory Tottenham Hotspur” in tribute to Chas Hodges, who died on Saturday morning.
MK Dons’ stadium was built for the future, and is of very good standard. They have four screens, just like the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, whenever it does open, and good quality stands. Spurs seats were allocated on a random first come first served basis, and our seats were lower down than we would usually like. Tat said, we were at least seated throughout the game, and had a decent view of proceedings.
Javi Gracia made no less than ten changes from the side which had drawn at Fulham on Saturday, but they have a good, deep squad, and gave the much-changed Spurs side a hard game. Kieran Trippier, Danny Rose, Jan Vertonghen, Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane were rested completely, and Fernando Llorente’s nose must have been put out of joint as Lucas Moura, and not he got the front-running spot in the team.
Watford got men behind the ball, and were aided by Spurs usually tentative build-up play. The first half-significant cross I noted was a low spurs cross from the right by either Sissoko or Aurier, which was held by Gomes. Lucas Moura had a right footed shot go high across the goalmouth after 21 minutes, following Aurier’s pass, and there was a penalty shout for Spurs a couple of minutes later, but nothing came of that. Gazzaniga held a shot by Isaac Success. Toby Alderweireld had started to the left of Davinson Sanchez, but the players switched sides during the first half. Following a Watford corner on the right full back Navarro hit a shot from distance, which passed just over the bar. Success and Sema got through in the box, but the defending of Alderweireld and Sanchez led to a strongly deflected effort looping up for a comfortable catch by Gazzaniga. Sissoko needed treatment after being fouled by Navarro in the Spurs area.
A minute before the interval Lucas Moura fed Wanyama from the right but Wanyama hit his shot over the target.
Gomes was welcomed to his goal by Spurs fans at the start of the second half and was soon cheering a goal by his colleague Success, who latched onto Navarro’s cross from the left which passed the defence and reached the back post where Success scored at fairly close range. Spurs, and their fans were stunned and I began to think the statistic of Watford never beating Spurs in a cup-tie (they did win one leg of a second round game in 1994) would come to an end. Gazzaniga was called upon to save another shot by Navarro, before Spurs started to get their act together, playing driving rather than tentative football. Dele collected a good ball by Sissoko and hit it first time towards, but over the goal. I thought there might have been a handball offence in the Watford area when Sissoko hit a shot following good work by Aurier, but the shot was saved. A poor effort by Davies reached Aurier on the other side, and his cross was cleared.
Mauricio Pochettino brought on the troops in the shape of Dembele and Son for Wanyama and Sissoko. Son worked on the left flank with Dembele in the middle, of course. After 70 minutes, Llorente replaced Lucas Moura, but I don’t think he had many touches, or influence on proceedings, although he did have a header go over following a cross by Aurier.
Spurs had an escape when Watford substitute Will Hughes was clear on the right and crossed to Sema who miscued his shot. Lamela fed the ball to Son on the left and his low shot was saved. Gracia made another substitution of Kabasele for Navarro, but the first team regular didn’t last long. Spurs went down to 10 men as Aurier was crocked and had to limp off, but it was soon 10 a side as Lamela fed Dele whose run into the area and shooting chance was unfairly halted by Kabasele in the eyes of referee Lee Mason, who showed the Watford man the red card to compound the punishment. Dele made no mistake from the spot, beating Gomes to his right.
Watford’s final substitution was another former Spurs man Etienne Capoue. Spurs took the lead with the goal we all hoped would be the winner with a good move out of defence. Winks found Dembele, who drove forward towards the right before passing inside to Lamela who finished with a delightful shot over the diving Gomes, running to the corner flag with his celebration. I see that Lamela was booked, but I didn’t see him actually shown the card, which I assume was for exuberant celebration. There had been a one-man pitch invasion by a Spurs fan, but he had come from behind the scorer.
The Spurs hero became villain to a degree when he lost the ball in a midfield battle and Watford drove forward in the closing minutes of ordinary game time. Watford crossed from the left and Mariappa had the final touch before Capoue drove a deflected shot past Gazzaniga in front of the delighted Watford fans.
Under the new rules, there is no extra time in these matches so we went straight to penalties in front of the Watford fans with Watford going first. Success scored well with a right footed shot, and Son responded in similar fashion. Spurs gained the edge when Gazzaniga saved a weakly taken shot by Capoue, before Lamela fired home to the right of Gomes. Hughes beat Gazzaniga with a left footed shot, sending Gazzaniga the wrong way and Llorente scored convincingly to make it 3-2 to Spurs. Quina hit another weak penalty which Gazzaniga saved before hero of the night Dele Alli made it an unbeatable 4-2 with another powerfully taken right footed shot.
The draw for the fourth round (matches to be played late October) takes place on the Quest TV channel on Saturday night during their Football League highlights show. Selfishly, I fancy Nottingham Forest, Derby or Burton away. No doubt the club would be happy with an away draw to save another round of home venue difficulty.
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