It got a little scary there for a few minutes in the second half, but Tottenham Hotspur ended up with a relatively straightforward 3-1 win at Stoke City in the quarterfinals of the Carabao Cup. Playing in their green away kits for the first time all season, Tottenham got a first half goal from Gareth Bale, conceded an equalizer in the second half, then got goals from Ben Davies and Harry Kane to punch their ticket to the semifinals.
Jose Mourinho made seven changes to his starting lineup against Leicester, but the biggest surprise was the return of Dele to the starting lineup. Erik Lamela, out for a while now with an injury, also made the bench, and was a late second half substitute.
Starting XI: Lloris; Doherty, Sanchez, Dier, Davies; Winks, Hojbjerg; Moura, Dele, Bale; Kane
Stoke was missing their first five (!!) keepers, and resorted to playing 37-year old Andy Lonergan in goal. The Potters also started a familiar face in midfield in Spurs academy grad Tashan Oakley-Boothe.
6’ — Not much has happened in the opening minutes, but Eric Dier just launched a cross-field pass that went two rows into the stands at the bet365 Stadium, so that’s fun.
14’ — First shot of the match for Harry Kane from a tight angle, but Lonergan parries it away.
22’ — GOAL! IT’S GARETH BAAAAAAALE! Harry Winks lofted a ball into the box towards Doherty who was making a run, but it fell to the head of Bale who flicked it past Lonergan into the net. Spurs lead 1-0!
33’ — Stoke make their first sub of the match. Steven Fletcher (remember him?) comes on after Morgan Fox had to withdraw with a knock.
35’ — Nearly a second from Spurs after Dele was played into the box by Kane. His run was well marked by Lonergan who ran out to block his shot away.
42’ — Dele has a good effort from the top of the D that’s on target and forces a fingertip save from Lonergan.
45’ — Yellow card for Stoke’s Jordan Thompson for tripping Hojbjerg who was making a run into the box.
HALFTIME! Spurs have been comfortably the better side and have a couple of good looks at goal from open play, but it’s Gareth Bale’s flicked header that is the difference thus far.
A surprise halftime sub for Tottenham as Son Heung-Min comes on for goal-scorer Gareth Bale.
47’ — Oooh, Dele goes close again. Kane played another ball towards him in the box, and Dele tried to one touch it past the keeper but couldn’t get a firm toe on the ball. Dele looks frustrated.
53’ — Goal to Stoke, against the run of play. It’s Jordan Thompson on a counterattack. Doherty got caught out on a long pass and the ball ends up with Thompson at the back post who pokes it past Lloris. Spurs were completely at sea defensively. 1-1.
65’ — Double-sub for Spurs as Erik Lamela makes his first appearance in two months, along with Moussa Sissoko. Off goes Dele and Lucas.
70’ — GOOOOOOOAAAAALLL! WHAT A HIT FROM BEN DAVIES! Spurs’ OTHER Welshman takes the ball on the half-volley and thunders a strike off the post and in past Lonergan! He smashed that ball! Wales 2, Stoke 1!
75’ — Son Heung-Min has the ball in the back of the net for three, but it’s called back for offside. And oooooh that was a terrible call as he was miles onside, but there’s no VAR in the Carabao Cup.
79’ — Sub for Spurs as Sam Vokes comes on for Spurs academy grad Oakley-Boothe.
81’ — GOAL!! HERE I AM... ROCK ME LIKE A HARRY KANE! Easy for him. Sissoko had a through ball who had time to take a couple of dribbles and drill it into the roof of the net.
85’ — Chance for Stoke as Fletcher gets a free header on a ball to the back post. Fletcher can only nod the ball wide of the post.
FULL TIME! It got a little nervy after the equalizer, but it turned out to be a relatively straightforward win for Spurs. Job done.
- If there’s a story from this match, it’s Dele who played very well in this match. He got free for a number of chances and while most of them didn’t come off he was in dangerous positions. It’s as good as he’s looked for a long time.
- Hojbjerg was also good in this match, but you’d expect that from him against a mid-table Championship side.
- You can see why Mourinho made the subs that he did; it’s a quarterfinal cup match that he wants to win.
- Ben Davies’ shot was an absolute thunderbastard and it was lovely.
- You knew Kane wasn’t going to miss with that opportunity and he made the most of it. And check out the assistoko from Sissoko!
- Spurs will find out their semifinal opponent after the late game between Everton and Manchester United. I’m hoping for Brentford.