Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Tottenham 2 Newport County 0: Lamela strike helps Spurs to fifth round

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 7 Feb 2018

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Tottenham eased into the fifth round of the FA Cup with a 2-0 win over Newport County in Wednesday’s replay at Wembley.

The League Two side shocked Spurs by holding them to a 1-1 draw in the initial fourth-round tie but they could not spring another surprise, as an own goal from Dan Butler and an Erik Lamela strike sealed the home side’s progress.

Mauricio Pochettino, in his 200th game in charge, left the likes of Harry Kane and Dele Alli out of the starting line-up but handed defender Toby Alderweireld his first start since November 1.

Newport boss Michael Flynn, who was rewarded with a new contract in the hours before kick-off, watched his side produce a bold early performance in London until Butler’s unfortunate own goal sapped their confidence.

Lamela’s first goal in 504 days made the result safe before half-time, allowing Spurs to cruise through the second period and secure an away fifth-round clash with Rochdale of League One.

Newport started in much the same way as they did in Wales, with their high pressing leading to half-chances through a Robbie Willmott free-kick and a header from Padraig Amond, who scored in the first meeting.

Danny Rose sent a volley into the side-netting as Spurs began to increase the pressure, and they got the breakthrough in fortuitous circumstances 26 minutes in, as Butler turned Moussa Sissoko’s low cross into his own net.

Joe Day was helpless as the ball escaped his outstretched leg but he made a superb double save to keep the score at 1-0 just past the half-hour mark, beating away Lamela’s volley before blocking Son Heung-min’s effort on the rebound.

But Lamela had better luck three minutes later as he scored his first goal in 17 months, slotting a clever finish past Day from 12 yards after Son had burst towards the box and played him in.

The second half proved to be something of a procession, with Spurs bossing the ball but showing little urgency in attack, although Fernando Llorente was close to turning Lamela’s cross goalwards and the Argentine winger was denied by another good save from Day.

Frank Nouble had proved a troublesome figure for the home defence on Newport’s rare forays forward but he was unable to fashion any clear chances on Michel Vorm’s goal, and substitute Christian Eriksen came close to a third for Spurs when he drilled Rose’s cross wide.

Llorente made a mess of Lamela’s delightful chipped throughball and volleyed another chance wide, meaning his wait for just a third Spurs goal goes on, while Alli clattered the crossbar after being played clean through by Eriksen.

Pochettino’s side almost conceded late on but Vorm denied Amond from close range, as Spurs ensured a trip to Rochdale on February 18, with Saturday’s north London derby against Arsenal now the focus of their attention.

Key Opta Stats:

– Tottenham are unbeaten in their last 12 home games at Wembley (W10 D2), scoring 32 goals and conceding just six.
– Spurs have kept clean sheets in each of their last four home games in all competitions. They last kept more consecutive shutouts on home soil in September 2013 (six).
– Tottenham have benefited from five opposition own-goals this season in all competitions, more than any other English league side.
– Erik Lamela’s last goal came against Gillingham in the EFL Cup in September 2016.
– Son Heung-min has been directly involved in 15 Tottenham goals in his last 13 home games in all competitions, scoring eight and assisting seven.

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SoccerNews

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