Our FA Cup campaign ended at the Lane on Saturday afternoon, as Leicester City scored twice in the final seven minutes to overturn a half-time deficit and reach the fourth round.
Andros Townsend had put us ahead on 19 minutes, converting his fifth penalty of the season after Roberto Soldado was brought down in the area and we held onto that advantage until the 83rd minute, when Leonardo Ulloa levelled. The Foxes then grabbed a dramatic injury time winner through Jeff Schlupp to turn the game on its head, leaving us no time to find an equaliser of our own.
Head Coach Mauricio Pochettino made nine changes to the side which beat Sheffield United on Wednesday, with Erik Lamela back in the starting line-up after injury for the first time since our Boxing Day league win over the Foxes, while Federico Fazio also returned after illness.
Eight minutes had gone before the first shot was fired in anger, Paulinho’s speculative 30-yard effort going well over, but the visitors went much closer two minutes later when Schlupp’s low inviting cross found Andrej Kramaric unmarked seven yards out, Michel Vorm denying him with an outstanding one-handed save.
Paulinho saw another effort just skim the crossbar this time on 14 minutes, while Vorm was there again moments later to preserve our clean sheet, superbly tipping Schlupp’s 18-yard drive over the bar.
The opener came on 19 minutes. Lamela threaded a pass in to Soldado, he skipped inside Liam Moore and was brought down by the defender, referee Robert Madley pointing to the spot. Townsend stepped up again as he did for spot kicks here against Chelsea and Sheffield United in recent matches... and once again found the back of the net, drilling his penalty past Mark Schwarzer.
It wasn’t the best few minutes for Moore, who was booked for a challenge on halfway on Soldado in the 25th minute, injured himself in the tackle and was substituted for Marcin Wasilewski.
We were on the attack again on the half hour, Lamela’s neat pass found Danny Rose bursting in from the left flank, his low cross almost fell to Paulinho and from the rebound, Lamela’s volley was blocked by Wasilewski.
And three minutes later, a delightful move which started with Younes Kaboul winning possession inside his own half saw Paulinho and Lamela combine, with the former sliding another fine pass in to Soldado who took one touch and hit a right foot shot which Schwarzer saved well low down. The former Chelsea stopper was on hand again seconds later to prevent Paulinho adding to our tally.
There was a moment of controversy on 40 minutes when Kramaric was clean through on goal, Vorm rushed out to meet him and as the Leicester striker attempted to round the keeper, he went down in the area. The Foxes appealed for a penalty but referee Madley immediately gave the free-kick in our favour and booked Kramaric for simulation.
There were early chances for us in the second half as both Soldado and Lamela attempted shots from distance, neither hitting the target, while Leonardo Ulloa should have done better from a corner at the other end but could only send his header into the ground and up into Vorm’s arms.
Both sides were continuing to create chances and it was the visitors who carved out the next opportunity on 57 minutes, Schlupp laying the ball in to Kramaric but his right-foot shot was well over, while Andy King had a clear header at goal from Ritchie De Laet’s cross but was wide of the target. At the other end, Lamela did well to work his way to the byline down the right and clip over a cross which Paulinho hit on the turn, firing just inches past the post.
As the contest entered its final 15 minutes, Lamela tested Schwarzer with a low drive from 20 yards and the Argentine midfielder was there again four minutes later, taking substitute Emmanuel Adebayor’s pass out on the right, cutting inside and curling a shot which the Foxes keeper palmed away.
And after Vlad Chiriches was in the right place to prevent Danny Drinkwater finding a way through, we were swiftly on the counter-attack, Paulinho heading Adebayor’s centre wide of the far post.
But with seven minutes left, the visitors drew level. Drinkwater’s corner was headed clear to Schlupp, he drilled a 20-yard shot which landed at the feet of Ulloa, who swept home into the bottom corner past Vorm.
There was a frantic final few minutes as the two teams desperately searched for the winner and in the second minute of stoppage time, it was Leicester who snatched it. Danny Simpson burst down the left and delivered a first time cross which Schlupp diverted goalwards, the ball bouncing over Vorm’s dive and agonisingly trickling over the line.
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Vorm, Chiriches, Kaboul, Fazio, Rose, Dembele (Kane 87), Capoue, Lamela, Paulinho, Townsend (Eriksen 64), Soldado (Adebayor 71). Substitutes (not used): Friedel, Dier, Davies, Stambouli.
Leicester (4-2-3-1): Schwarzer, Simspson, Morgan, Moore (Wasilewski 26), De Laet, King, Drinkwater, Vardy (Nugent 72), Kramaric (Albrighton 72), Schlupp, Ulloa. Substitutes (not used): Hamer, Konchesky, Cambiasso, Knockaert.
Goals: Spurs - Townsend (pen) 19; Leicester – Ulloa 83, Schlupp 90+2.
Yellows: Leicester – Moore, Kramaric, Wasilewski, Ulloa.
Referee: Robert Madley.