Harry Kane nabbed a brace and Spurs held off a second half Brighton charge to advance to the fifth round of the FA Cup by the final score of 3-1.
Antonio Conte picked a strong lineup for the match with the front eight all familiar faces. Cuti Romero returned from injury to slot into the CB spot in between Ben Davies and Davinson Sanchez. With Spurs coming off the international break, the belief was a rejuvenated side can make a run both in the FA Cup and the push for the Champions League.
1’ - 3-4-3 for Spurs, which isn’t really a surprise. ESPN had Sanchez lined up in the middle but that was wrong. Romero is at the central spot in the back line while Sanchez is in his usual RCB slot.
9’ - Not too much going on so far. Both sides are getting settled and trying to get forward. Spurs do look pretty sharp when they have the ball.
13’ - GOAL TOTTENHAM! (Kane, 1-0): Kane almost gets one on an interception/one-timer but he gets another chance right away thanks to sloppy play. Kane gets a pass from Hojbjerg and the England captain takes care of the rest.
18’ - Brighton try to answer as they kick around the ball in the attacking third. Bissouma gets a yard of space on a fake and then completely scuffs his shot.
23’ - Good run of play for Spurs. Sonny does some clever dribbling and finds Lucas, who cuts back into the middle and feeds Winks. The midfielder takes a pretty good crack from distance but it’s saved by Sanchez.
24’ - GOAL TOTTENHAM! (March OG, 2-0): Uhhhhh okay! Sure! Winks plays a fantastic forward ball to a streaking Royal. He does a couple of stepovers and tries a cross that’s deflected by March. Somehow, it goes over the head of Sanchez and finds the net!
27’ - Spurs are kicking Brighton’s ass in midfield now and taking advantage of mistakes. Another push after a turnover gives Reguilon an opportunity to cross, finding Winks outside the penalty area. The shot isn’t a good one as it goes well wide into the crowd.
29’ - Oh man, so close to a third. Fantastic break for Spurs as Hojbjerg feeds Kane on right flank, who has to hold his shot with Dunk sliding. The chip shot finds Son on the far post but he can’t hit it square and puts it out to touch. A big missed opportunity.
39’ - Brighton get a chance to pull one back as they break down Spurs’ defense. Bissouma gets into the penalty area and backheels a ball to Maupay, who promptly sends it to Row Z.
44’ - Another chance for Brighton right before half. Maupay feeds it back to Moder, giving him a crack from 18 yards out but it’s over the crossbar for a goal kick.
45’ - One additional minute added on.
HALF-TIME: All Spurs right now as they lead Brighton, 2-0.
46’ - Brighton bring on Joel Veltman to spell Adam Lallana as a formation change. Spurs make no changes up two goals.
49’ - Brighton get the first chance of the second half as Moder gets a good shot from 20 yards out. Hugo had it covered as it just went over the crossbar.
51’ - The Seagulls come close to pulling one back as Maupay gets a shot that’s deflected, forcing Lloris to make an acrobatic save. He’s up to the task as he gets his hand on it enough to deflect it wide.
59’ - First chance for Spurs in the second half is a wasted one. Kane and Son get a 2-on-1 counter that ends with Sonny trying to one-time it past Sanchez. He doesn’t catch it clean and Sanchez easily makes the save.
63’ - Goal Brighton (Bissouma, 2-1): That was coming. Brighton have been the better side this half and Bissouma finally makes Spurs pay with a deflected shot off the back of Hojbjerg. Hugo had no chance as he’s left standing.
66’ - GOAL TOTTENHAM (Kane, 3-1): The stupid goals continue! Sonny absolutely owns the Brighton defense and there’s just enough confusion that causes Webster to touch it past Sanchez. Kane outraces him to the ball and taps it in!
67’ - Brighton come right back on the kickoff and get Maupay in on Hugo. The Brighton striker has a go but it’s weak and right at the Spurs captain for an easy save.
68’ - Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur: Dejan Kulusevski makes his Spurs debut, coming on for Lucas Moura. Steven Bergwijn comes on as well, giving Heung-Min Son a rest.
70’ - Substitution, Brighton: Danny Welbeck comes on for Tariq Lamptey. The home crowd gives him a rousing chorus of boos, as expected.
76’ - Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur: Cuti Romero makes way for Joe Rodon. Romero looked quite good but probably needs a bit more fitness.
77’ - Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur: Rodrigo Bentancur will also make his debut, coming on for Harry Winks.
78’ - Substitution, Brighton: Teenager Evan Ferguson comes on for Yacob Moder.
83’ - Stevie. My man. First off, Bentancur shows a taste of what he can do with some fancy footwork to clean up a turnover, then Kulusevski manages to feed Bergwijn a sitter....and sends it well over the crossbar.
86’ - And Bentancur earns his first booking as a Spurs player. Definitely a yellow and no real argument.
87’ - Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur: Matt Doherty makes a cameo as he comes on for Emerson Royal.
88’ - Almost a fourth for Spurs. Stevie plays a lovely touch off his head to Hojbjerg, who feeds Sergio. It’s a solid shot but right at Sanchez.
90’ - There will be five added minutes.
90’+2’ - Lovely play to close out this match. Kulusevski cuts back and plays a perfect setup pass to Kane, but the shot is just over the crossbar.
FULL TIME: Spurs advance to the fifth round of the FA Cup with a 3-1 victory over Brighton and Hove Albion.
Thoughts on the Match
- The first half was almost entirely Tottenham bossing Brighton around the pitch. Hojbjerg and Winks controlled the midfield, forcing Brighton into sloppy play. Emerson and Sergio were both quite good today.
- The second half, on the other hand, was football in a blender. Brighton came out and kicks Spurs teeth down their throat the first fifteen minutes but at least Spurs answered the goal with one of their own.
- Kane looks refreshed and ready to go thanks to a two week break. Honestly, most of this side looked that way.
- Sonny had a bit of rust on him but nothing to worry about. He’ll click again.
- Bentancur and Kulusevski gave us a small taste of what they can do but it’s going to take time for them to get ingrained into the system, especially Kulu. He did some good things but you could see he didn’t quite know the tactical patterns yet.
- Spurs move on in the FA Cup. The Fifth Round Proper draw is tomorrow morning bright and early at 6:40 AM ET. Whenever one of us is awake, we’ll post the draw.