After multiple video replay controversies in the first half, Tottenham pulled away from Rochdale to reach the FA Cup quarterfinals.

By 90Min
February 28, 2018

Despite concerns that it would be cancelled due to blistering weather conditions, Spurs hosted Rochdale at their adopted Wembley Stadium in an FA Cup fifth round replay on Wednesday night.

The north Londoners were surprisingly held to a 2-2 draw in the reverse fixture at Spotland just a few weeks ago. On that night, the home side played out of their skin to earn the replay through Steve Davies' injury time equaliser as Spurs watched on bemused.

Rochdale manager Keith Hill went with the same side that faced the Premier League giants the first time around, hoping for a similar performance.

Mauricio Pochettino followed suit, although Erik Lamela and Eric Dier came in for Victor Wanyama and the injured Toby Alderweireld, respectively. 

Spurs almost took an early lead through Lamela in the fifth minute after the midfielder had a few decent chances to run at the Rochdale back line though he failed to make anything happen. 

Moments later he couldn't miss, after Son squeezed past the last defender - finding the Argentine in the six yard box - but it wasn't long before the VAR system got involved and canceled the early celebrations as Llorente was caught pulling an opponent's shirt. 

The home side had looked a little shaky in the opening minutes, but the early action had settled them down a bit and Rochdale looked to be on the back foot with over 80 minutes still to play.

Son looked to put to bed the thought that it could be 'one of those nights' with a great strike from just inside the Rochdale area. The South Korean was just too quick for the League One defenders, opening the space up effortlessly for the clear shot on goal, leaving Josh Lillis no chance between the sticks.

The VAR system took the game from an eventful affair to a controversial mess when Spurs were awarded a penalty, after Trippier was brought down from a challenge that started way outside the box. 

Son stepped up and slipped the ball calmly into the net after minutes of deliberation, however the messing about was not over yet. Son's strike was deemed illegal after pausing during his penalty run-up, leaving everyone seriously confused as to what had just happened.

It could have been 3-0 to Spurs if not for the VAR system, and things got worse for the hosts after Humphrys was slotted in on goal, calmly putting the ball past Michel Vorm; with the stadium still shocked from what had just come before.

Spurs looked eager to get inside for the half-time break due to some high intensity pressure from the Dale which culminated through a thunderous strike from Andrew Cannon, beating Vorm but not the goalpost.

Llorente settled the Spurs fans' nerves moments after the second half got underway with a cool chip over the Rochdale keeper, after keeping himself onside and out of the grasp of the VAR referee, leaving the home support to lavish the expected ironic cheers.

For the first time in both fixtures Spurs could finally look to the next round with real promise after Llorente got his second of the night and Tottenham's third. The attacking three of Lucas Moura, Son and Llorente showed their class with some cool one-touch passing towards the Rochdale goal, resulting in a calm toe-poked finish from the ex-Swansea striker.

Things looked well and truly over for Rochdale when Llorente made it four, collecting his first hat-trick for his new side. The visitors just couldn't get a tackle in as numerous Spurs players tapped the ball around a compressed Rochdale defence - the goal looked inevitable and eventually came after Llorente hungrily snuffed out a looped cross with his head, just a few yards out.

The goals kept coming for Spurs when Moura, who had now been very effective in his midfield role, found Lamela with a defense-splitting pass and with a few options in front of him. Lamela looked up with composure and found Son in acres of space and once again on the night, a Spurs attacker couldn't miss. 

Walker-Peters capped off the evening, making it 6-1 after substitute Dele Alli played him through, leaving the Rochdale defense for dead for a final time.

The game largely calmed down towards the dying minutes as Spurs used their heavy lead to control the tempo of the game. Rochdale's fairytale had came to an end but the League One side go home with much pride having fought hard over the two fixtures. 

The north London trophy-seekers now face Premier League counterparts, Swansea, in the next round.

You May Like