Saints leave it late to earn dramatic cup replay

By SFC Media time Sat 25 Jan Saints v Spurs
Photo by Isabelle Field | Sofiane Boufal
Sat 25 Jan 3PM
English FA Cup
Tottenham Hotspur
Boufal [87']
Heung-Min [58']
Bertrand (77') Bednarek (90+2')
yellow card
Referee: Peter Bankes | Venue: St Mary's Stadium | Attendance: 29,282

Sofiane Boufal’s late strike earned Southampton a deserved Emirates FA Cup fourth round replay against Tottenham, following an all-action affair at St Mary’s.

Looking to pick up a victory over José Mourinho’s Spurs for a second time this month having won the New Year’s Day league meeting, the hosts more than matched their North London opponents in an entertaining yet goalless opening 45 minutes.

With chances spurned by both sides, Heung-Min Son finally broke the deadlock in the 58th minute, before the hosts rallied late on.

Having missed a series of chances, a joint-spot in Monday’s fifth round draw was confirmed when substitute Boufal slammed home an equaliser in the 87th minute to force a replay in North London.

Ralph Hasenhüttl made four changes to the side that comfortably came away from Crystal Palace with three Premier League points in midweek.

As in the previous round, Angus Gunn took the place of Alex McCarthy between the sticks, whilst the injured defensive duo of Cédric and Jannik Vestergaard were replaced by Kevin Danso and Jan Bednarek, who had missed the trip to Selhurst Park with an Achilles problem.

Completing the changes, top scorer Danny Ings was restored to the starting eleven having been rested on Tuesday night, with the striker’s winner in the same fixture on New Year’s Day still fresh in everyone’s mind.

With both sides looking to rekindle the cup form that saw them reach the semi-final stage in 2017/18, it was the visitors who produced the first chance in a cagey opening at St Mary’s.

In fact, it was a golden opportunity for José Mourinho’s side when Dele Alli played in Son, but from the angle, the South Korean could only drag an effort wide of the target.

Perhaps fortunate not to be trailing, Saints then responded with a spell of pressure that drew some raucous support from the home crowd.

Danso, operating from right-back, had a shot deflected for a corner which resulted with Bednarek having a long-range attempt deflected wide, as the 20-minute mark came and went.

20200124 Southampton v Tottenham Hotspur FA Cup
Nathan Redmond looks to find space in the box (Photo: Matt Watson)

Not deterred, a sea of red and white continued to flood forward with a series of corners coming to no avail, before a sense of déjà vu arrived on the south coast.

In the league meeting between the two sides just 24 days ago Spurs had a goal chalked off for offside, and lightning was to strike twice.

When Alli’s backheel was swept home from the edge of the box by Giovani Lo Celso the travelling support erupted, only for the goal to correctly be chalked off for taking a deflection off of an offside Son that deceived a hapless Gunn.

Whilst the linesman’s flag and a supplementary VAR check had saved Saints on that occasion, it was their goalkeeper who took centre stage just past the half-hour mark.

Breaking from midfield once again, Alli used a pocket of space to play in Lucas Moura, with his low shot being stunningly diverted past the post by the outstretched leg of the recalled Gunn.

Having survived the onslaught, the hosts continued to go about their work at the other end in a determined manner that so nearly brought its reward on 35 minutes.

A deep James Ward-Prowse free-kick was cleverly whipped into the near post to the surprise of many, but not Ings who had arched his run accordingly. Chesting the ball past an advanced Hugo Lloris, his volleyed attempt was destining to nestle in the back of the net, but for Japhet Tanganga to clear from his own goal line.

It remained goalless heading into the break, but what the game lacked in goals it made up for in entertainment value, a theme that continued after the break.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 25: Sofiane Boufal of Southampton shoots to score and make it 1-1 during the FA Cup Fourth Round match between Southampton FC and Tottenham Hotspur at St. Mary's Stadium on January 25, 2020 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Sofiane Boufal fires home the equaliser (Photo: Isabelle Field)

Wasting no time in getting up to speed after the restart, Hasenhüttl’s side came close twice in quick succession to taking the lead.

First, Obafemi drilled a low ball across goal that Ings couldn’t quite turn in after applying the feintest of touches, before the striker couldn’t quite apply any touch at all to Pierre-Emile Højbjerg’s volley into the floor that fell invitingly in the box.

With the sense that an opening goal was coming, it was the visitors who took the first step to confirming their spot in the hat for Monday’s fifth round draw just before the hour-mark.

After Lo Celso’s weaving run did most of the hard work, Lamela fed Son on the left and, from an almost identical spot to where he dragged wide in the first half, the lively attacker picked out the bottom corner.

A lengthy VAR check looked like it might give the hosts a lifeline, but there was to be no repeat of the first-half reprieve as Son was confirmed as onside, almost making it 2-0 moments later with a dipping volley.

Needing a response, the mercurial Boufal and Ché Adams were introduced for Danso and Obafemi, as Hasenhüttl switched to three at the back.

Committing numbers forward, Ings looked to get on the score sheet for a third time this season against Spurs, but his curling attempt from 20 yards skipped wide before he wasted a guilt-edged chance by heading Nathan Redmond’s tantalising cross wide with Lloris well beaten.

Whilst it wasn’t to be the number nine’s day in front of goal he was still to play a major role, as his pull-back from the left with three minutes remaining was perfect for Boufal to launch into the roof of the net and notch the goal Saints’ play had warranted.

The home crowd roared in search of a dramatic late winner, but the tie will need a replay to separate the two sides.


Head to Head Stats

Tottenham Hotspur
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Angus Gunn (GK)
Ryan Bertrand yellow card
Jack Stephens
Kevin Danso
replace Sofiane Boufal (71′) goal
Jan Bednarek yellow card
James Ward-Prowse
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (C)
Stuart Armstrong
replace Moussa Djenepo (43′)
Nathan Redmond
Michael Obafemi
replace Che Adams (74′)
Danny Ings
Sofiane Boufal
Che Adams
Oriol Romeu
Moussa Djenepo
Harry Lewis
Maya Yoshida
William Smallbone

Tottenham Hotspur

Hugo Lloris (GK) (C)
Toby Alderweireld
Serge Aurier
Davinson Sánchez
Japhet Tanganga
Harry Winks
Dele Alli
replace Eric Dier (88′)
Gedson Fernandes
replace Erik Lamela (56′)
Son Heung-Min goal
Giovani Lo Celso
Lucas Moura
Tanguy Ndombele
Ryan Sessegnon
Paulo Gazzaniga
Eric Dier
Juan Foyth
Jan Vertonghen
Erik Lamela
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