Tuesday 21 November 2017

Gomes on hand to save Spurs

Fulham 0
Tottenham 0

Duncan Bech

Tottenham had Heurelho Gomes to thank for keeping them in an FA Cup tie at Craven Cottage that came alive in the second half. Gomes made a string of fine saves as Fulham went on the rampage after the interval to book a quarter-final replay at White Hart Lane on March 24.

The Brazilian prevented Bobby Zamora, Damien Duff, Brede Hangeland and Zoltan Gera scoring in a London derby that lacked any bite until a pulsating second period. For Gomes, it was a return to the ground where in November 2008 he made the worst in a string of blunders that almost saw him sold by manager Harry Redknapp.

Redknapp opted against offloading the £7.8m signing from PSV Eindhoven. The Spurs manager's faith has already been repaid, but once more Gomes underlined his value. At the other end, Mark Schwarzer kept out Niko Kranjcar and Peter Crouch at the end of the first half, but was hardly involved again.

For all their possession and a passing game that was easy on the eye, Spurs rarely troubled Fulham's goal and wilted as an attacking force. Fulham manager Roy Hodgson will be disappointed his side, who continue to punch above their weight in two cup competitions, did not finish off their capital rivals.

Hodgson and Schwarzer were presented with their manager and player of the month awards for February shortly before kick-off. Spurs pressed hard in midfield to give their opponents little time on the ball but despite some slick passing, they failed to trouble Fulham's goal.

It was not until the 28th minute that either 'keeper was extended, Schwarzer palming away a well-struck shot from Kranjcar. Duff pulled the trigger from long range at the other end as Fulham's chances continued to be severely limited. Zamora bulldozed his way through at the end of one well-worked move but Michael Dawson intervened to snuff out the danger.

The second half was not even a minute old when Gera drew a save from Gomes. The match came alive after a dull first half, partly thanks to the noisy Spurs fans. Duff found the side netting after being set up by Simon Davies and was then denied by another fine save from Gomes following excellent work by Zamora.

The impressive Kranjcar fizzed a cross through the penalty area as Spurs launched a swashbuckling counter-attack. At the end, Vedran Corluka almost turned an attempted clearance into his own net -- he did not know where the ball was going -- and Spurs breathed a sigh of relief at the final whistle.

Sunday Independent

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