Saturday 21 April 2018

McShane strike fails to deny Tottenham after Tigers foiled in shootout

Tottenham 2 Hull 2

Paul Hirst

(After extra-time; Spurs win 8-7 on pens)

Tottenham supporters cranked up the volume inside White Hart Lane, but their team had to rely on penalties to scrape past Hull in a thrilling League Cup round-four clash.

Despite their early dominance and a 1-0 lead, thanks to Gylfi Sigurdsson's brilliant strike, they lost their grip on the tie in the second half as Brad Friedel spilled the ball into his own net soon after the re-start. Spurs, whose calendar is busy enough as it is, were forced into 30 extra minutes.

Steve Bruce came with the same 5-4-1 approach he used on Sunday, and understandably so. In the Premier League game between these two sides, his team held out for 80 minutes and, had it not been for Michael Oliver's brief aberration, they would had held on for a point.

Bruce made just four changes, with Liam Rosenior switching to left-back and Ahmed Elmohamady dropping to right-back, but the plan was the same.

So Tottenham, who made eight changes, had to pick their way through again. They looked, from the start, brighter and sharper than they had in the league game, pressing the ball harder and passing it faster. Younes Kaboul and Jan Vertonghen, two real tempo-setters, were paired at centre-back for just the second time this season.

There was pressure on the Hull defence and Paulinho dragged a shot just wide, but what broke open the visitors in the end was a piece of individual skill that would have beaten any team.

Kyle Naughton, at left-back, passed the ball to Sigurdsson 25 yards out and with his back to goal. With one movement, Sigurdsson trapped the ball, dragged it back and spun towards goal and away from Curtis Davies.

That was brilliant enough, regardless of what followed, but then Sigurdsson drove the ball right-footed into the near top corner of the net. No better individual goal will be scored at White Hart Lane this season.

With the lead, Spurs continued to press for a second but for all the clever movement of Christian Eriksen, darting in and out of gaps, they could not unpick Bruce's massed ranks. Ultimately it was the Hull manager who did it for them.

In the cup there is no incentive to lose narrowly and so Bruce changed to 4-4-2, withdrawing his son Alex and replacing him with striker Nick Proschwitz. It nearly made an immediate difference, as Friedel palmed out Elmohamady's volley and needed Kaboul diving in to stop Danny Graham from converting.

That, ultimately, was the extent of Hull's first-half threat as Spurs finished it closer to getting a second goal.

Cups are different, though, and after the restart Hull came out and played fearless and aggressive football. Aaron McLean had replaced Danny Graham and his energy was obvious, dragging a shot just wide with his first touch.

Spurs were unsettled, though, and soon helped their guests to an equaliser. George Boyd's backheel freed Elmohamady down the right and his cross to the far post found Curtis Davies with an open goal.

He, somehow, could only skew the ball back to Friedel, who did what Davies could not and clumsily diverted the ball into the net. In the 42-year-old's long professional career, this was not his finest hour. McLean could have made it 2-1 but headed Stephen Quinn's cross over the bar.

Tottenham's early tempo had faded and the final ball was lacking. Chadli did not look comfortable and was withdrawn after just 10 minutes for Harry Kane.

Lamela, who was elegant but quiet, drew a diving save from Eldin Jakupovic with a curled free-kick. Sigurdsson had a goal disallowed because it had been set up by Jermain Defoe catching the ball.

Kane, in the last minute of added normal time, came closest to winning the tie, hitting the bar on the turn from 25 yards.

But eight minutes into extra-time Paul McShane's header from a corner put Hull ahead. However, nine minutes later Kane's shot from the left of the box brought Spurs level again.

The quarter-final draw is: Leicester v Man City, Sunderland/Southampton v Chelsea, Stoke v Man Utd, Spurs v West Ham

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport