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Spurs see off Boro to set up Saints FA Cup date

Goals from Giovani Lo Celso and Erik Lamela earn Tottenham a 2-1 win over Teessiders in Third Round replay

14 January, 2020 — By Dan Carrier at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

FA Cup Third Round Replay

SPURS 2 (Lo Celso 2, Lamela 13)
MIDDLESBROUGH 1 (Saville 83)

TOTTENHAM Hotspur sealed an FA Cup fourth round tie against Southampton next week after overcoming a spirited but essentially limited Middlesbrough side tonight (Tuesday) – and the impact of two Argentine players in Giovani Lo Celso and Erik Lamela gave fans a nostalgic whiff of those Glory, Glory Days of Ossie and Ricky leading Spurs to back to back FA Cup triumphs in the 1980s.

The Teessiders had earned themselves a draw in the original tie and given a good account of themselves – but whatever game plan former Spur and Boro manager Jonathan Woodgate had cooked up to take the match to their Premier League opponents was quickly undone after just two minutes when a howler of a clearance by keeper Tomas Mejias allowed Lo Celso to put Spurs a goal up.

Fellow Argentine Lamela made it two after 13 and Spurs were cruising. Boro’s late consolation via substitute George Saville did not unduly worry Spurs, who had plenty of chances to hit a third.

After the game, Spurs boss Jose Mourinho said he was particularly impressed with the performances of goalscoring pair Lo Celso and Lamela. “They played very well,” he said. “Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa would not be ashamed to be compared to them, for sure.”

He added he was particularly pleased as the pair had previously not completed 90 minutes for him. “Lamela was out for so long, and has been coming back step by step. He had 20 minutes in the first tie against Middlesbrough, 30 against Liverpool and then 90 today.

“It is the same with Gio – it is a question of step by step. Hew as so so good today. Above all, I am happy with the result and happy we have gone through.”

Youngster Japhet Tanganga, so impressive against Liverpool at the weekend, also earned a start and Mourinho said it sent a good message to youth players at Spurs. “His pathway at his age is to work, work and more work and wait for the right opportunity,” he said. “That’s my message to the players at my club. Work, work and the right moment will arrive.”

The goals were quality, even if the chances were created at first by sloppiness from Boro’s defence. Lo Celso showed his class when he zipped on to the loose ball and gently eased his shot into the far corner.

On 14, it was Lamela’s energy and determination that saw him pick up possession inside the Boro half. He strode forward and as options opened up, he opted to take it on himself. He snuck into the box, rolled his foot over the ball to send defenders in the opposite direction, and confidently placed his shot home.

Spurs had a few opportunities to extend their lead but tended to over elaborate, a sign of their comfort. Boro came out better in the second half but lacked any guile to break down Tottenham’s defence.

On 83, Saville won a second ball after a hefty hoof up field up a loose ball and no one in white could get close enough to him before he drilled a well aimed shot past Paulo Gazzaniga. It gee’d the visitors up for the last seven minutes, but Spurs dealt with Boro’s aerial attacks and sealed a fourth round tie at Southampton’s St Mary’s ground next weekend.

SPURS: Gazzaniga, Vertonghen, Sanchez, Winks, Lamela, Dier (Dele 84), Lo Celso, Sessessgnon, Eriksen, Moura (Son, 60) Tanganga.
Substitutes not used: Vorm, Foyth, Aurier, Skipp, Cerkin.

MIDDLESBROUGH: Mejias, Fry, Clayton, Fletcher, Howson, McNair, Nmecha (Gestede, 77) Johnson, Wing, Spence (Tavernier, 73) Liddle (Saville 57).
Substitutes not used: Brynn, Roberts, Wood, Malley.

Attendance: 49,202

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