Southampton’s ‘organised kamikaze’ subjects Spurs to another replay in 1-1 draw


Just when it seemed Jose Mourinho had finally got to grips with Ralph Hasenhuttl’s co-ordinated chaos, a Southampton storm ensued.

In an age where the esteemed history of the FA Cup is all too often diminished and does not receive the attention it duly deserves, the clash on the coast was different. Urged on by the hosts, the two sides went blow-for-blow throughout. Described as a “good old-fashioned cup tie” by a fellow journalist, the Saints re-affirmed their remarkable upturn in form and confidence as they matched last year’s Champions League finalists.

Like two heavyweights slugging out the final round, it was a game of clear-cut chances sprinkled in with a large dash of high-octane intensity as St Mary’s well and truly embraced the spirit of the competition.

Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl perfectly summed it up: “I think we saw an intense game from both sides, like ping-pong for 90 minutes.”

Heung-Min Son’s strike on the hour mark looked set to be the decider in the labelled Mauricio Pochettino derby. Only for Danny Ings, who surely has England beckoning, to tee-up Sofiane Boufal in the dying embers.

“It was a difficult game, they have good options of the bench when their players are getting tired” admitted Mourinho.

Days after their New Years day defeat on the south coast, Jose Mourinho had a case to be less than enthusiastic at the prospect of returning. The notion of an eye roll and a typical huff and puff when he saw Spurs’ number 19 plucked out of the velvet bag, certainly wouldn’t have been out of the question.
Not only did his side have to play another unwanted/unnecessary match to add to the ever-mounting fixture list in the form of a replay against Middlesborough, but if they were too progress, they would have to visit St Mary’s again.
St Mary’s was the scene of perhaps Jose Mourinho’s darkest day as Spurs boss after Harry Kane plunged his Euro 2020 hopes into doubt with ‘that’ thigh injury which still requires surgical intervention. Mourinho himself hardly fared any better, involved in a spat with Southampton goalkeeping coach Andrew Sparkes, branding him “an idiot” in the process.

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Spurs continued without an out-and-out striker in their squad with the scars of that chastening New Years Day defeat still suffering its after-affects. Son and Lucas Moura were given the striking slots and new signing Gedson Fernandes awarded his first start. Christian Eriksen was left out of the squad altogether with the Dane’s exit door seemingly ajar and poised for a move to Inter Milan.

This time though, Spurs seemed to approach the game differently in search of a change in fortunes. This was perhaps foreshadowed in their manager, who was dressed in rather casual attire for their second St Mary’s audition.

Despite it goalless at half-time, the scoreline didn’t quite tell the tale of an enthralling 45 minutes of chances. Spurs threatened on the break and edged the action with Son and Lucas both coming inches away from breaking the deadlock. Son’s left-footed strike grazed the outside of the far post before the latter saw his effort deflected by the left-toe of Angus Gunn.

Giovani Lo Celso did have the ball in the net but his effort hit the offside Son on the way in. At the other end, Saints’ talisman Danny Ings was denied after youngster Japhet Tanganga was on hand to clear off the line.

The second-half continued in the same manner with talisman Ings a whisker away again. The forward latched onto Michael Obafemi’s low cross but like Son, watched his effort go inches past the far post.

But minutes later, there was a goal. After taking an eternity for VAR to award the goal, checking for every issue in the build-up, a Lo Celso led breakaway put Spurs 1-0 up.

The Argentinian slotted the ball into Son, whose low-effort crept past Gunn and into the back of the net, sending the sold out away end – who changed their tune after singing “its just not football anymore” whilst VAR was in process – into a frenzy.

Such the nature of the FA Cup, where away supporters are often awarded an increased allocation, Tottenham had the entirety of Southampton’s Northam section – notoriously the largest and loudest section of home support.

But the goal would not detract the home side, who began assembling a storm of their own. Fashioning umpteen chances prior, the home side’s relentless pressure eventually told in the 87th minute.

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And such the form of the man, you simply could not keep Danny Ings out of the game.

After failing to hit the target from an unmarked header moments before, the former Liverpool man turned provider for Sofiane Boufal. Ings laid the ball off to the on-rushing Moroccan, who lashed the ball past Hugo Lloris.

While Tottenham returned to the scene of the New Years Day crime not beaten, they were slightly scathed as the 1-1 draw adds another game to their already congested fixture list.

“Its a result we don’t need, its another match, said Mourinho afterwards. “But for our supporters, the 50,000 are coming to support the team in the next tie, it is great. Its one more match we have to play, its not the perfect situation, Ralph (Hasenhuttl) was saying the same. No drama, lets go.”

Meanwhile, Southampton continue to go from strength-to-strength as their frenetic, thoroughly entertaining brand of football shows no signs of going away. And with Ralph Hasenhuttl at the helm and Danny Ings on fire, why would it?

Team Lineups

Southampton (4-2-2-2): Gunn; Danso (Boufal 70′), Stephens, Bednarek, Bertrand; Hojbjerg (c), Ward-Prowse; Armstrong (Djenepo 42′), Redmond; Obafemi (Adams 73′), Ings

Substitutes unused: Lewis, Yoshida, Romeu, Smallbone

Tottenham (4-3-3): Lloris (c), Aurier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Tanganga; Winks, Fernandes (Lamela 56′), Lo Celso, Dele (Dier 88′), Son, Lucas

Substitutes unused: Gazzaniga, Foyth, Vertonghen, N’dombele, Sessegnon


About Author

Football, Boxing and Cricket correspondent from Hampshire, covering southern sport. Editor and Head of Boxing at Prost International. Accreditated EFL & EPL journalist.

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