Brad Friedel saved two penalties in a dramatic shoot-out against Hull City at the Lane this evening to book our place in the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup.
Our USA keeper denied Aaron McLean in City’s first spot-kick and then kept out Ahmed Elmohamady in sudden death to see us through 8-7 on penalties, following a 1-1 draw after normal time and a 2-2 scoreline at the end of the extra half hour. Kyle Walker’s successful penalty proved to be the winner.
Gylfi Sigurdsson had fired us ahead in the 16th minute with a truly stunning goal before Curtis Davies’ close-range shot deflected in off Friedel to level it up nine minutes after the interval. Neither side could find a winner in normal time, but the visitors were in front on 99 minutes through Paul McShane, only for Harry Kane to force a penalty shoot-out when he equalised 10 minutes later
We made eight changes to the team which edged past the Tigers 1-0 here on Sunday with Walker, Jan Vertonghen and Paulinho the only survivors. And there was a first-ever appearance for young French midfielder Nabil Bentaleb on the substitutes’ bench
Sunday’s encounter saw the visitors look to contain us with men behind the ball at every opportunity and the early stages of this game followed exactly the same pattern.
After an early chance for Hull, when Danny Graham just failed to convert Stephen Quinn’s cross, we took charge and dominated proceedings, enjoying almost total possession. There was a real fluidity to the team, quick passing and good movement stretching the play and we almost went ahead on 10 minutes when Younes Kaboul just headed wide from Christian Eriksen’s corner.
Two minutes later Paulinho played a neat one-two with Eriksen, but the Brazilian could only drag his shot wide. But we grabbed the lead in sensational style on 16 minutes. Kyle Naughton played the ball into Sigurdsson 25 yards from goal, he turned Davies with a neat flick and smashed a rising drive which flew past Jakupovic. That’s how to break down a massed defence!
Needing a goal to maintain their Capital One Cup challenge, Hull made a change on 34 minutes, bringing on striker Nick Proschwitz for defender Alex Bruce and switching to a 4-4-2 formation which almost immediately paid dividends.
Just a minute later Elmohamady stinging shot was saved well low down by Friedel, but the rebound looked like it was going to fall for Danny Graham to tap home but Younes Kaboul slid in to divert the ball away.
And just seconds after the restart, City went close again when Quinn dispossessed Mousa Dembele in midfield, substitute McLean picked up the loose ball and hit a low left-foot shot which went just past Friedel’s far post.
Then came the equaliser on 54 minutes. Elmohamady was sent clear down the right channel of the area and delivered a teasing low cross which Davies reached at the far post with an outstretched boot, sending the ball back across goal and in off Friedel.
As the scoreline suggested at this stage, the game was a much more even affair with both sides enjoying possession although neither team could create anything too clear cut.
It was a set-piece that almost saw us re-take the lead in the 79th minute, awarded when Defoe was bundled over on the edge of the box, and Erik Lamela brought a smart save out of Jakupovic from the free-kick. Substitute Harry Kane had the ball in the back of the net two minutes later but it was ruled out for a handball by Defoe in the build up, as we stepped up our search for the winner.
And it so nearly came in the dying seconds of stoppage time when Walker surged forward, laid the ball off to Kane who hit a ferocious 25-yard shot which beat Jakupovic but not the crossbar. That was the last action of normal time.
We were quickly on the front foot at the start of extra time, with Sigurdsson again trying his luck from distance on 95 minutes, but this time his aim was just off as his effort went wide.
But it was Hull who took the lead for the first time in the match four minutes later, George Boyd’s corner headed home inside the six yard box by McShane.
Kaboul then sent a header over from a Sigurdsson cross in the 106th minute before City substitute Gedo fired just over the bar as the game opened up. And it was 2-2 in the 109th minute when Kane scored his first-ever White Hart Lane goal. Defoe played the ball into the young striker, who turned McShane on the edge of the area and rolled a low left-foot shot past Jakupovic and into the far corner.
That got the place rocking again and we were on top once more with Defoe to the fore, firing in three shots in quick succession, McShane’s fine last-ditch block denying him the best chance on 115 minutes. Neither side could force a winner and so it came down to penalties, our first shoot-out at the Lane since we lost on spotkicks to Liverpool in the same competition in December, 2004.
First up was Sigurdsson to put us 1-0 ahead, and that score remained as Friedel saved McLean in Hull’s first penalty. Defoe smashed home to make it 2-0, Stephen Quinn netted for 2-1 before the left-foot of Jan Vertonghen made it 3-1 in our favour.
Boyd rolled his penalty past Friedel for 3-2, but Lamela then saw his effort saved by Jakopovic, diving to his left. Gedo found the target to level it up at 3-3 and we were back in front at 4-3 through Kane’s fierce drive straight down the middle. Proschwitz made it 4-4, and so to sudden death.
No problems for Paulinho, who stroked his spotkick home for 5-4, and David Meyler levelled it up at 5-5 as the tension built up. Kaboul scored for 6-5, Liam Rosenoir made it 6-6 and Mousa Dembele tucked his away for 7-6. McShane just squeezed his effort in off the crossbar – that made it 7-7 and up stepped Kyle Walker to make the score 8-7.
That proved to be the winner, as Elmohamady saw his penalty saved by Friedel to great delight among players, staff and fans alike. And so we march on!