Tuesday 21 November 2017

Son shows touch of class as Spurs get the job done

Leicester City 0-2 Tottenham

Son: Opening goal. Photo: PA
Son: Opening goal. Photo: PA
Nacer Chadli scores the second goal for Tottenham. Photo: Reuters

Jason Burt

Tottenham Hotspur's 3,000 fans were in fine voice with their Wembley songs but it might be Mauricio Pochettino who will have to warm up his vocal chords if his side maintain this kind of impressive form as they swept aside Leicester City in this replay to progress into the fourth round of the FA Cup.

A tie away to Colchester United - 22nd in League One - awaits with Pochettino having promised to serenade with chairman Daniel Levy should Spurs actually go on and win this competition. That is clearly some way off but, who knows, maybe they will chose a chorus of that old 1970s Spurs club classic Nice one Cyril, nice one son after a match-winning performance from another Son - Heung-min Son - who scored one brilliant goal here and set up another.

For the Leicester manager, Claudio Ranieri, it was an evening of frustration - his body language said it all - but he gambled, understandably so given his resources, and he lost.

There was a sense with both line-ups, but particularly with Leicester, of priorities lying elsewhere with home debuts for two 19-year-olds in the hugely promising Ben Chilwell and Demarai Gray. This time last year it was about avoiding relegation for the home side. Now it is about Champions League; just as it is for Spurs.

After a tight opening period, Spurs began to take control as Leicester struggled to force them out of their half. Time and again the ball was coming back too rapidly towards the home goal and it was with a deserved inevitability that Spurs took the lead.

Even so it was some strike from Son and came after Eric Lamela found Tom Carroll, who immediately moved the ball on to the Korean. Chilwell showed him the outside, wrongly forcing him onto his stronger right foot, Son accepted the invitation and fired a fierce, swerving shot that deceived Kasper Schmeichel with its power and accuracy, beating the goalkeeper at his near post.

At half-time, Ranieri made a change, abandoning his 4-5-1 formation to try to provide more support for lone striker Leonardo Ulloa. On came Shinji Okazaki but Spurs initially remained dominant.

Finally Leicester fashioned a chance as Spurs failed to clear and Okazaki and then Andy King turned the ball on to Gray in space on the left. His curling shot was pushed away by Michel Vorm but only as far as Lloyd Dyer, who could only hook the rebound wide as he stretched to meet it.

Pochettino had also seen enough. He sensed Spurs' advantage was slipping, they only possessed that slender lead, and he turned to Harry Kane whose provided fresh impetus but it was Nacer Chadli who doubled their lead. Kane was involved as he turned the ball inside to Son, whose smart pass picked out Chadli's run and the Belgian calmly sidefooted past Schmeichel.

The keeper thwarted Kane once more as he ran through on another counter-attack, with a sharp low one-handed save. On came Jamie Vardy also, to a huge roar, and he forced a smart save from Vorm but it was as close as they came.


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