A shootout at the OK Corral wouldn’t have served up anything like this goalfest of a cup tie that swung one way then the other as Everton and Spurs shared eight goals and still couldn’t be separated in normal time.
FA Cup fifth round action at the Grand Old Lady saw our mighty Blues pitted against Jose Mourinho and his Tottenham Hotspur, a tie that saw 7th versus 8th in the Premier League standings, a mouth-watering prospect.
With five wins and two draws in our last seven road trips Everton might, tongue-in-cheek, have preferred to be the away side especially having won at the new White Hart Lane on the opening day of the season. But this is the FA Cup and all any club can ask for is a home tie and put that to their advantage in looking for a place in the quarter final draw.
After making changes to his Everton side last Saturday to the team that won at Leeds, in Tuesday’s media presentation Carlo Ancelotti, unsurprisingly, wouldn’t be drawn on his team to face Spurs but did advise, “I have to wait for training this afternoon to check on some situations. One is James (Rodriguez) and one is Jordan (Pickford), they are going to train and after that we will see. James had a tight calf [against Manchester United]. I took him off after 70 minutes to avoid risk. Now he will train today. If he’s ready to play tomorrow, he will play, and if the calf is still tight he will play in the next game on Sunday. Allan has started (training) with the team. He is not ready yet but, I hope he will be next game.”
Switching his attention to the immediate task ahead of overcoming Spurs and reaching the last eight he noted, “It is a crucial moment for everyone and an important period of the season, we are really focused on the game tomorrow, to reach the quarter-finals is really important for us. The players know the difficulties and beauty of this competition, maybe they know better than me. They have a great desire to be competitive: to play fantastic games in the Premier League: to fight for the top and to try to win cups. They are really young and want to have fantastic careers. You can have a fantastic career by winning trophies and competing at the top.”
Hoping the Blues can bring their excellent away form back home, Carlo named his starting eleven: Olsen, Godfrey, Mina, Keane, Digne, Doucoure, Davies, Iwobi, Sigurdsson (c), Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin.
Meanwhile in the other dugout was Jose Mourinho, and he too had a selection poser to deal with – Dele Alli. The former MK Dons midfielder has featured sparingly for Spurs this season due to mixture of injury and being out of favour with his manager, and when questioned on Tuesday morning, the enigmatic Portuguese remarked, “Dele trained yesterday (Monday) with the team, and well. He’s had a long time away, a couple of weeks not training with the team and recovering. Can he play tomorrow? Well, he’s not injured, but I’m not sure he can. Can he help us? I believe he can. So, in terms of having Dele on the bench to come on for a few minutes to try to help the team, is that possible? It’s something I have to speak with him about, but I believe he can.”
Mourinho also reported that Serge Aurier was a doubt of the Goodison clash when he added, “Serge left the game (against West Brom) with a little problem. Can he play tomorrow? I don’t know, I don’t think so, but we have a training session later this afternoon. He’s one to look at. Gio Lo Celso, no chance. Sergio Reguilon, no chance.”
With captain and main striker Harry Kane having made a quick return following injury and straight back to scoring, he was expected to be a shoe-in to lead the side however, Jose Mourinho named: Lloris (c), Doherty, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Davies, Hojbjerg, Ndombele, Lamela, Bergwijn, Moura and Son.
On a very cool Goodison evening, our referee was David Coote.
An early scare for the Blues as Spurs put a flowing move together and Olsen had to be sharp to save from a Lamela header off a Berwijn cross, Moura putting the ball high and wide on the follow-up. Spurs forced the first corner too and Son picked out an unchallenged Sanchez for a free header into the bottom corner, an awful opening three minutes for the Blues.
The quick start by Spurs had caught Everton cold and the goal certainly rattled them ahead of a 50-50 challenge between Davies and Ndombele rattled the Spurs midfielder. Spurs were looking much sharper and quicker of thought and feet with crisp passing, while Everton were more patient or ponderous in possession. Son tried to test Olsen with a curling shot that didn’t have the power to trouble the Blues ‘keeper.
Fifteen minutes played and Everton finally got forward with purpose, Sanchez blocking a shot from Richarlison and Lloris saving well from a full-blooded drive from Ben Godfrey. When Spurs counted through Hojbjerg, it was Godfrey doing the defensive work to clear from Moura as Son tried to play him in and launch a counter attack that saw Lloris push a shot from DCL onto the post, Davies conceding the corner as Everton went looking for an equaliser.
On 26 minutes, Olsen made another good save as Doherty got free on the right and his cross was hit first time by Son, the Swede putting the ball behind for a corner that came to nothing. Lamela tried his luck from distance with a low curling shot and Olsen reacted after making the save, to lambast his defence for not being sharper to cut out the Spurs threat.
Spurs with another flowing move saw Olsen save from Berwijn and the next Spurs counter saw Berwijn race away to feed Son who shot was deflected off Keane to loop over the bar for another corner. The set piece was aimed for Alderweireld but DCL climbed to head it behind for another corner from the other side. Davies to Dourcoure and onto Iwobi saw the Blues win a corner that was sent to the near post where Mina couldn’t direct his header on target.
But the equaliser wasn’t long in coming as Spurs through Hojbjerg were sloppy in getting the ball clear from the goal kick and a nice flicked pass from Sigurdsson found Calvert-Lewin and his first time volley was too powerful for Lloris – his 50th Everton goal in the 36th minute.
And it got better as two minutes later, the Blues were in front as Digne found DCL, his flick on found Richarlison and he skipped to his right and fired a low shot through the legs of Alderweireld and beat Lloris low to his right. A tremendous turnaround after Spurs had looked much the more comfortable side through the first half hour.
Doherty was lucky not to see yellow for a foot-up tackle on Digne and the free kick led to a long ball for Sigurdsson that he played inside for DCL who had his ankle taken from him by Hojbjerg and referee Coote gave the penalty. And the ice cool Icelander Gylfi Sigurdsson calmly slotted the ball as Lloris went the wrong way – three goals in an incredible seven minute spell!!
Three added minutes were signalled and the scoring continued as Spurs hit back before the break, Lamela playing a one-two with Son to get beyond Mina to lift his shot over Olsen as the goalie went down.
Half Time: 3-2
No changes by either manager for the second half as Everton kicked off attacking the Gwladys Street end, Iwobi with an early ball into the box where Doherty cleared and as Spurs countered at speed, Sigurdsson was booked for a pull on Moura. Lamela caught Richarlison on the side of his foot and was a bit lucky not to see yellow.
A little over seven minutes into the second half and Spurs made their first and predictable change, Harry Kane coming on a the expense of Bergwijn as DCL received some attention to a knock on his left knee before leaving the game to be replaced by Seamus Coleman.
Son with a powerful low cross from the left saw Keane defend at the expense of a corner, and Sanchez tied things up at the back post with his second of the game, converting on a flicked-on header from Alderweireld that Olsen could only parry.
An hour gone and Everton attacked down the right with Coleman’s cross intended for Iwobi being hooked clear by the Spurs defence. The next attack came down the left with Iwobi feeding Digne to pull his cross back for Sigurdsson to volley first time but off target. Moura with two balls into the Everton area for Kane saw Doucoure block and clear.
Mina was booked for a foul on Son after the Korean got away from the Columbian, Lamela’s free kick going easily through to Olsen.
Everton incredibly regained the lead on 68 minutes as a great through ball from Sigurdsson found Richarlison who turned Sanchez inside out and from a narrow angle, hammered his second goal of the game past Lloris into the far corner. While VAR checked the goal for offside, Everton made their second change, Bernard replacing Alex Iwobi.
Into the final twenty minutes of an extraordinary game and Coleman was alert to take a ball into the box away from Son and clear but Spurs were quickly back on the front foot to win another corner. Son swung it in, Olsen punched only as far as Lamela who thankfully couldn’t keep his shot down and on target. Moura with an obstruction on Digne gave the Blues a free kick wide left that Kane headed clear but the ball came wide right to Bernard and his cross found Michael Keane, his header going straight into the midriff of Lloris.
End to end stuff saw Spurs break away and win another corner as Olsen tipped a Kane header behind and Dele Alli came on replacing Moura.
The corner was defended and Keane cleared a Lamela cross aimed at Kane and we hit the 80-minute mark with Spurs throwing everyone forward and Everton defending well and countering through Coleman and Doucoure before cycling the ball for Godfrey to find Digne to get forward and look for Richarlison in the area, the Brazilian going down for half-hearted appeals for another penalty.
Spurs again got down the Park End quickly to win another corner, Richarlison heading clear but Spurs keeping the pressure on to win another corner. Olsen with a punch that didn’t clear the ball and when the ball came wide right again for Son, his cross was headed home at the back post by Kane.
Five minutes left in normal time, could either side grab a winner before extra time came into play?
Alli to Lamela to Son and Godfrey needed to be quick to get back and clear the threat before Alli was booked for a dive in the Everton area trying to con the referee into awarding a penalty. Son went a late curling shot but pushed it well wide and five added minutes were signalled.
Richarlison saw yellow for a pull on Son and the free kick saw a Kane shot from fully 35 yards blocked and cleared. Kane was next in the referee’s notebook for a foul on Tom Davies, Digne also seeing yellow for a foul on Kane. Neither side could force a normal time winner and the extra half hour came into play.
Full Time: 4-4
Winks replaced Ndombele at the start of extra time as Jose Mourinho flexed his stronger bench muscles, the visitors getting forward for Doucoure to win the ball and break before his ball for Sigurdsson was cut out. Everton got forward through Doucoure and Coleman to find Richarlison, his cross easily claimed by Lloris.
Kane worked his way into the box to shoot from close range, Olsen parrying the shot and Digne clearing the loose ball before Lamela could get to it. The pace of the game had dropped a little but on 97 minutes, Bernard played the ball into Sigurdsson and a delicious chipped pass from the Icelander found Bernard getting behind the Spurs back line and he crashed a volley past Lloris to give the Blues another lead.
Sissoko and Vinicius came on before the restart replacing Lamela and Doherty respectively and Winks saw yellow for a foul on Coleman who’d switched momentarily to the left flank. The pace had clearly dropped and that was suiting Everton the better but Spurs again got forward to win a corner on their right, Mina putting it behind for another that Keane headed clear to Bernard as we edged towards the midway point of extra time with a further two minutes being added and played out.
Fifteen minutes to go and the Blues in front, could they hold on or even extend their lead. Mina with a block on a shot from Kane and Lloris saving from Sigurdsson as the end-to-end play continued unabated – an incredible game. Mason Holgate joined the fray replacing Lucas Digne two minutes in and a free kick from Sigurdsson saw Keane get to it but his header slid wide.
Kane stopped Coleman on a charge and won a free kick that Son lifted into the area where Olsen claimed it comfortably. Holgate with a stiff challenge on Vicinius conceded a free kick centrally outside the penalty area, Kane firing his shot into the wall and Everton hacking it clear. Five minutes to go and Everton were in no great rush, Spurs getting forward again through Sissoko for Holgate to concede the corner that Everton again worked hard to smuggle away to safety.
Godfrey with a good tackle halted Alli and from the throw-in, Winks tried to find Kane, his header spinning wide of the target. One more added minute was signalled as Everton defended another corner through Michael Keane and Winks firing well wide. Tom Davies won a free kick to eat some more valuable seconds off the clock, and the final whistle signalled the Blues march on Wembley is still on.