Sonny spot-on as Spurs somehow see off Saints

Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 Southampton

HEUNG-MIN SON’S late penalty proved decisive as Tottenham Hotspur somehow saw off an impressive Southampton side to book an Emirates FA Cup fifth-round date with Norwich City.

Son’s goal had been cancelled out in the final stages of the original tie at St Mary’s by Sofiane Boufal, setting up Tottenham’s second replay in this season’s competition

Spurs – buoyed by Sunday’s Premier League victory over Manchester City – began on the front foot. Ryan Sessegnon testing Saints stopper, Angus Gunn, after Son had teed him up. Southampton responded – Danny Ings warming the palms of Hugo Lloris, ensuring the majority amongst the N17 crowd were fully aware of their own intentions.

Indeed, Lloris had to divert a stinging angled attempt from Sofiane Boufal behind, then thwarted the Nathan Redmond with his feet as the visitors searched for a significant opening.

But it was the home side who made the breakthrough. Sessegnon’s ran into traffic, but when the ball broke, Tanguy Ndombele – aided by a deflection off Jack Stephens – found the bottom corner, settling early nerves amidst the those of a Spurs persuasion.

However, despite the setback, it was Southampton who continued to dominate the infancy of the game. Ings smacked the face of the bar after James Ward-Prowse had picked him out with an exquisite pass, while Lloris had to be on his toes, denying the same player as the south coast side asked the sterner questions.

And shortly after the half-hour mark, the Saints pressure finally told. Lloris could only parry Redmond’s shot on the turn – Shane Long on hand to pick up the pieces and slot into an empty net.

Southampton were handed a blow when Ward-Prowse was carried from the field, needing oxygen, after a clash with Sessegnon. The Saints playmaker replaced by Jannik Vestergaard.

Skipper, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, nodded over, while Boufal fired wide from close range as the Saints continued to produce the more fluent football after the interval. Meanwhile, Lucas Moura was unable to divert Son’s centre past Gunn as Spurs finally offered a viable threat of their own.

Lloris brilliantly tipped over Vestergaard’s point-blank header as Southampton – smelling blood – turned the screw. But just when it seemed as if Spurs had weathered the storm, Ings superbly curled low past Lloris from eighteen yards, sending the visiting contingent into raptures and leaving an air of despondency hanging over those around them.

But having worked tirelessly and dominated, Southampton’s lead was to last just six minutes. Lucas Moura steadied himself before firing right-footed past Gunn – Relief for the Lilywhites.

The drama continued. Dele played in Son – Gunn was clumsy on the South Korean, who rattled home the resulting spot-kick with aplomb.

You had to feel for the Saints, who had looked the better side throughout and will wonder how this one slipped away. But it is Tottenham who will now face Norwich in round five, albeit knowing they will need to perform a whole lot better if their dream of a first FA Cup final appearance since 1991 is to remain a possibility.

Tottenham Hotspur return to Premier League action on Sunday, Feb 16 when they take on Aston Villa at Villa Park (2pm).

Tottenham Hotspur: Hugo Lloris (Capt), Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen (Gedson Fernandes 55’), Heung-min Son, Harry Winks, Eric Dier, Ryan Sessegnon (Davinson Sanchez 90’), Serge Aurier, Lucas Moura, Tanguay Ndombele (Dele Alli 61’), Japhet Tanganga Subs not used: Paulo Gazzaniga (GK), Oliver Skipp, Troy Parrott, Dennis Cirkin

Booked: Gedson Fernandes (foul)
Goals: Jack Stephens (own-goal) 10’, Lucas Moura 78, Heung-Min Son (penalty) 88’’

Southampton: Angus Gunn, Jack Stephens, Shane Long (Che Adams 81’), Danny Ings, Oriol Romeu, James Ward-Prowse (Jannik Vestergaard 39’), Sofiane Boufal (Stuart Armstrong 67’), Ryan Bertrand, Nathan Redmond, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Capt), Jan Bednarek Subs not used: Harry Lewis (GK), Michael Obafemi, Will Smallbone, Jake Vokins

Booked: Jan Bednarek (foul), Oriol Romeu (foul), Che Adams (foul), Angus Gunn (foul)
Goals: Shane Long 34’, Danny Ings 72’

Referee: David Coote
Assistants: Lee Betts and Simon Bennett
Fourth Official: Jarred Gillett

Attendance: 56,046


Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]