Son Heung-min’s dazzling double and a debut goal from Arnaut Danjuma sent Tottenham through to the FA Cup fifth round with a 3-0 victory over Preston North End.
South Korea international Son curled the opening goal from 25 yards in the 50th minute to break Preston’s resistance at Deepdale.
Antonio Conte’s visiting side dominated throughout but mostly found clear-cut opportunities difficult to come by, though Son struck again in fine style to put them in control.
Danjuma, off the bench for his first Spurs game, rubbed salt in the wounds of the Championship side with a late third.
Our Sonny pic.twitter.com/FVmoSGsB8u
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 28, 2023
Tottenham dominated the early proceedings of Saturday’s game, with Son the most threatening outlet, twice forcing Freddie Woodman into action with attempts from outside the box.
For all their possession though, Conte’s players struggled to break down Preston’s resilient defensive line and were restricted to efforts from distance, Dejan Kulusevski firing a strike over the bar.
Five minutes after the restart, Spurs found the breakthrough as Son cut onto his left foot after receiving a pass from Japhet Tanganga and struck a fine effort beyond the reach of Woodman.
Preston responded well, with Ched Evans weaving his way through several markers to tee up Benjamin Whiteman, but his strike from just outside the area whistled wide of Fraser Forster’s right-hand post.
The fightback was quickly quelled though as Son struck again, with Ivan Perisic backheeling a pass into the area for the Spurs number seven to turn his markers and send a fine finish into the right corner.
Danjuma added icing on the cake in the 87th minute, scuffing Kulusevski’s pass into the Preston net to cap a comfortable win.
What does it mean? Spurs march on
Victory for Spurs secured a fifth-round spot for a fourth successive season, their longest such sequence since making it this far in five consecutive campaigns from 1978-79 to 1982-83.
In what has largely been a frustrating season for Spurs, the FA Cup can offer some encouragement and, with London rivals Chelsea and Arsenal among those to have already fallen, they will fancy their chances of going all the way for the first time since 1990-91.
Two spectacular goals were a deserved return for Son, who stood out as Spurs’ most threatening outlet throughout and brought an end to a concerning run that had saw him score just once in the last 13 matches.
Son had four shots throughout, all of which were on target, with his two goals coming from an expected goals (xG) of just 0.18.
Perisic pulls the strings
With 48 touches, Perisic saw less of the ball than any of his outfield team-mates from the starting XI, but he made an impact when he had possession.
Three chances created was the highest of any player on the field and included the deft assist for Son’s second that erased any concern of a late fightback from the hosts.
Key Opta facts
– Son scored his first FA Cup goals since February 2020 (against Southampton). Each of his last four goals in the competition have come in the fourth round, while this was his first double in the FA Cup since hitting two in February 2018 in a fifth-round replay against Rochdale.
– Tottenham will have enjoyed this win; however, there might be trouble ahead as they have been eliminated in the fifth round in the last three seasons.
– Preston have now lost their last seven FA Cup matches against top-flight opposition, all of which have come at home – in fact, they haven’t won at home to a top-tier side in the competition since January 1979 (3-0 v Derby County).
– This was the first time Harry Kane has not featured for Tottenham since the October 2021 match against Vitesse in the Europa Conference League, having played 68 successive games for Spurs. Here, he was an unused substitute, given a rest by Conte.
Tottenham host Manchester City in the Premier League next Sunday, with Preston welcoming Bristol City in Championship action a day prior.
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