Wednesday, August 21

Spurs held to shock FA Cup draw as Liverpool win big


PARTY TIME: Suarez (left) celebrates after scoring during Liverpool’s fifth-round match against Brighton and Hove Albion. — Reuters photo

LONDON: Premier League high-flyers Tottenham Hotspur were held to a shock goalless draw away to third tier Stevenage in the FA Cup fifth round on Sunday and now face a replay to reach the quarter-finals.

Tottenham, third in English football’s top-flight and eight-times FA Cup winners, did see Stevenage goalkeeper Chris Day, a former Spurs player, make a good save to turn Gareth Bale’s 25-yard effort round the post early in the second half.

Spurs then had the ball in the back of net when Louis Saha steered in Danny Rose’s cross only for the effort to be ruled out after a linesman spotted the striker’s shot had clipped the offside Scott Parker before hitting the net.

“I’ve managed lower league sides that have knocked Premier League teams out (of the FA Cup) and managed Premier League teams who’ve been knocked out,” Redknapp told ITV.

“They (Stevenage) made it difficult and worked hard.”

Delighted Stevenage boss Gary Smith said: “We had one or two opportunities we could have made more of but, overall, the players were outstanding.”

There were no stumbles for the other two Premier League sides involved in Cup action on Sunday.

Liverpool and Stoke will face each other in the quarter-finals after the Reds thrashed Championship Brighton 6-1 at Anfield and Stoke triumphed 2-0 away to fourth-tier Crawley Town.

Liverpool, helped by a Cup record three own goals from Brighton, went ahead in the fifth minute when Martin Skrtel headed in Steven Gerrard’s corner. But the Seagulls were level in the 17th minute thanks to Kazenga LuaLua’s fierce free-kick through a disintegrating wall.

Before half-time Liverpool were 2-1 up when a Glen Johnson header deflected in off Liam Bridcutt.

Andy Carroll made it 3-1 with a thumping 57th minute shot before the luckless Bridcutt ‘scored’ his second own goal in the 71st minute, when he turned in a Gerrard shot.

Three minutes later Brighton’s Lewis Dunk hacked a Luis Suarez cross into his own net and five minutes from time Suarez, who had a penalty saved, completed the rout with a headed goal.

Victory set up Liverpool for next week’s League Cup final at Wembley against another second-tier club in Cardiff and Gerrard told ESPN: “It’s always nice to first of all get the win and then to win convincingly.” — AFP