|Tottenham Hotspur’s Argentinian midfielder Erik Lamela (right) has an unsuccessful shot against Rochdale during the English FA Cup fifth round football match. — AFP Photo|
LONDON — Lowly Rochdale scored deep into stoppage time to deny Tottenham Hotspur victory as their FA Cup fifth-round tie ended in a thrilling 2-2 draw on Sunday.
It seemed Spurs had done enough to book their place in the quarter-finals when in-form England striker Harry Kane, on as a substitute, scored from the penalty spot with two minutes of normal time remaining to make it 2-1 to the visitors.
But Rochdale, who had opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time through Ian Henderson, equalised when substitute Steve Davies scored from 12 yards in the third minute of stoppage time.
This result means Rochdale, bottom of third-tier League One, can now look forward to a lucrative replay at Wembley -- the national stadium is London club Tottenham’s temporary home while their successor ground to White Hart Lane is completed.
"They say it’s every kid’s dream (to play at Wembley) and we have done enough to go there," Davies told the BBC, before saying of his equaliser: "I’ve done my job, it’s dropped to me and I’ve finished it."
Rochdale went ahead when Henderson crowned a slick move that made a mockery of the club’s league position with a composed finish after an excellent angled through-ball from Andrew Cannon split Spurs’ defence.
Lucas Moura, however, drew Spurs level, exchanging passes with Moussa Sissoko and beating Rochdale keeper John Lillis just shy of the hour-mark.
It seemed Spurs’ recovery was complete when Rochdale defender Harrison McGahey brought down Dele Alli and Kane beat Lillis, who dived the right way, with a well-struck penalty.
But there was still time for one more twist which means Spurs are facing a Wembley replay for the second round in a row, having needed two games to end fourth-tier strugglers Newport County’s FA Cup run.
"It’s unbelievable," said Henderson. "We played some incredible football against Spurs. We cannot wait to go to Wembley to play them."
FA Cup magic
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, tried to play down the inconvenience of an unscheduled extra game for his side, still involved in the Champions League and in the hunt for a top-four finish in the Premier League.
"The FA Cup is magic," said Pochettino, as the Argentinian gave voice to one of English football’s best-loved, but in this case apt, cliches.
"We have another opportunity at Wembley, the same situation like before."
Pochettino paid tribute to Rochdale, saying the way they had raised their game for the FA Cup was no shock in his eyes.
"I was not surprised," he said. "This competition is completely different.
Newport gave us a fantastic game and they lost their next game in the league 5-0."
Whichever club wins at Wembley will face either Sheffield Wednesday or Swansea, who will also need a replay after Saturday’s goalless draw at Hillsborough, in the quarter-finals.
Saturday’s draw saw four of the top Premier League’s top five kept apart in the quarter-finals, with Manchester United hosting Brighton -- a repeat of the 1983 final won by United in a replay -- and Chelsea away to Leicester.
Romelu Lukaku scored twice for United as they won 2-0 in a match where Jose Mourinho’s side had to make do without Paul Pogba after the midfielder withdrew on the morning of the match with an unspecified "illness".
United’s first brush with the controversial Video Assistant Referee saw them denied a goal when, leading 1-0, technology helped decide ’scorer’ Juan Mata had been offside, although it was a desperately close call that took several minutes to resolve -- much to the frustration of players and fans alike.
"I think our game is so beautiful that to change we have to change for the better," said Mourinho. "If they find a way in the VAR that the VAR is always right and always bring the truth, I’m happy."
Manchester City continue their quest for a historic quadruple of Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup with a fifth round trip to Wigan on Monday.
Should Pep Guardiola’s men avoid a repeat of the Latics’ shock 2013 FA Cup final victory, City will be at home to Southampton in the quarter-finals. — AFP