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Niko 'Kranjcs' it up in the Cup!

Posted on 2 January 2010  - 12:00

Niko Kranjcar struck twice in a Man of the Match display as Harry Redknapp's men put Peterborough United to the sword in the FA Cup Third Round at the Lane.

Niko 'Kranjcs' it up in the Cup!

Niko Kranjcar struck twice in a Man of the Match display as Harry Redknapp's men put Peterborough United to the sword in the FA Cup Third Round at the Lane.

Jermain Defoe and Robbie Keane also got on the scoresheet in a one-sided 4-0 defeat of the Championship's bottom club, easing us through to the next round for the fourth season in a row.

Manager Redknapp showed all due respect to Mark Cooper's men, fielding a strong XI which dominated from start to finish in ensuring our progress.

Only five changes were made from the side that defeated West Ham in the Premier League last time out, with those coming in being skipper Keane, international defenders Alan Hutton, Gareth Bale and Sebastien Bassong, and the awesome Kranjcar.

So as could be expected, Spurs had the Championship strugglers pinned back throughout the first half, and the visitors had goalkeeper Joe Lewis to thank in large part for keeping the scores down at half-time.

Terrific saves from Keane, Tom Huddlestone, Kranjcar made it frustrating at times as we looked to capitalise on our notable dominance.

But we also had ourselves to blame for not being further in front at the break, with the usually clinical Defoe just out of reach of Bale's low cross on seven minutes before hitting the bar from point blank range two minutes later.

However, we never looked far from breaking the deadlock, and if there was a man most likely to be responsible, it was Kranjcar.

The Croatian has been in fine form ever since arriving from Portsmouth in early September and is clearly relishing his football at the Lane.

This was in evidence again here as all our attacking play seemed to come through him at some stage, and his directness also provided the greatest threat the visitors' goal.

On 26 minutes, he forced perhaps the save of the half from Lewis, latching onto Defoe's neat flick in the box and hammering goalwards, only for the England Under-21 keeper to somehow tip the shot onto the bar and eventually to safety.

But there was little Lewis could do when Kranjcar's next effort came in eight minutes later, as the midfielder cut in from the left hand side and curled a beautiful right foot shot into the far top corner to separate the sides at half-time.

And 12 minutes after the break, it was the same man who as good as ended Peterborough's FA Cup dream with the all-important second goal.

Bale, a constant thorn in the side of Posh right-back Chris Whelpdale, made one of many overlapping runs down our left to latch onto Keane's neat pass, got to the by-line and pulled it back to Kranjcar's to slide in his second of the game and sixth of the season.

With the tie now drifting out of sight, Posh decided to come out of their shell a little but twice found a goalkeeper in the form of his life standing in their way.

Shortly after our second, lone striker Craig Mackail-Smith picked up on a loose ball and hit a shot heading for the top corner from 20 yards out, which Heurelho Gomes flew through the air to palm away in spectacular fashion for what was his first real action of the match.

The Brazilian was called upon again 15 minutes from time, this time to get the all-important touch on Shaun Batt's low cross with Mackail-Smith waiting to tap home.

It wasn't to be but, by then, the game was well out of sight anyway after Defoe had atoned for his earlier miss to make it three.

Michael Dawson played out of defence for Kranjcar to take it forward, he found Bale who was once again on the overlap, and there was the in-form striker to poke home his 16th goal of what has been a memorable season for him so far.

And it was a memorable afternoon for young Danny Rose, who came off the bench on 72 minutes to replace Kranjcar for his home debut following his arrival from Leeds United as a scholar in the summer of 2007.

He made his mark against the club where he spent a month on loan earlier this season, earning a late penalty which captain Keane side-footed home to complete an impressive afternoon's work.


Spurs (4-4-2): Gomes; Hutton, Dawson, Bassong, Bale (Naughton, 78); Modric, Huddlestone, Palacios, Kranjcar (Rose, 72); Defoe (Pavlyuchenko, 74), Keane
Subs not used: Alnwick, Corluka, Giovani, Crouch

Posh (4-1-4-1): Lewis; Whelpdale, Morgan, Bennett, Griffiths; Lee (Green, 86); Boyd, Frecklington (Batt, 68), Coutts, Williams (Rowe, 73); Mackail-Smith
Subs not used: McKeown, Diagouraga, Wright, McCrae