Tottenham Hotspur are now just two rounds away from a trip to Wembley. Spurs beat Brighton and Hove Albion, 2-0, on Wednesday at White Hart Lane to advance to the Capital One Cup fifth round. With a win there, they will move onto the two-legged semifinals before, finally, Wembley.
The match was relatively easy for Tottenham, if sometimes frustrating. Michel Vorm got the start in goal, but didn't have to make a save until the 86th minute. So while Spurs spent much of the first half giving the ball away in the final third or wasting good opportunities, it wasn't as if they were ever in danger of falling behind.
Things changed in the second half as Spurs began to find a little more success playing directly. It also helped that Erik Lamela came on for Aaron Lennon, even if Lennon was rather bright in the first half. Lamela linked up better with Roberto Soldado and that paid off for Spurs' first goal.
Soldado did a wonderful job holding the ball up before sliding a perfect ball in for the onrushing Lamela. The Argentine had to deal with a defender trying to close him down and did, before sliding the ball home for the long-awaited goal.
Only a few minutes later, Soldado nearly got a goal of his own with a great shot, but the goalkeeper tipped it off the bar and away. Spurs almost ran into trouble when Federico Fazio was lucky to avoid being whistled for a penalty, but a little after, Harry Kane put the match to bed.
Andros Townsend led the way forward for Spurs, hitting a cross for Soldado that the striker saw deflected. That deflection forced the goalkeeper into a save and the rebound fell in front for a sliding Kane to knock home.
With the second goal, the match was over. Spurs were able to grab their win and a spot in the fifth round. It was always pretty, but it was plenty dominant and effective.
- Soldado was phenomenal. His holdup play and the way he brought his teammates into the match was better than Spurs have gotten from any striker in a long time. He also forced the keeper into a couple fine saves, was denied by the post once and twice had halfway decent penalty shouts.
- Lennon looked really bright to start the match. His touch let him down a few times, which is to be expected from someone who doesn't play much, but he was all over the place and causing havoc for Brighton. We would assume he came off at halftime because he was hurt, which is a shame.
- Townsend played his best match in ages. Keep in mind, that's not a high bar and he still shot too much (and shot poorly), but he made some better decisions that usual to go along with some nice passes.
- Paulinho is alive and played!
- Benjamin Stambouli was a monster and won the ball back with ease. His shooting, less awesome.
- It's so nice to have Kyle Naughton back.