Spurs show no mercy as they stick seven past Tranmere
Fernando Llorente bagged himself a hat-trick as the Premier League side ran riot
Tottenham’s Fernando Llorente celebrates scoring their second goal during the FA Cup win over Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park. Photo: Paul Ellis/Getty Images
Tranmere Rovers 0 Tottenham Hotspur 7
A hat-trick from Fernando Llorente and two goals from Serge Aurier, the first a thumping drive from distance that Harry Kane could hardly have bettered, saw Tottenham into the FA Cup fourth round at the expense of Tranmere Rovers. The League Two side managed to live with their illustrious opponents for most of the first half but were outclassed after the interval, with Son Heung-Min pulling the strings. Kane even took the field with the score at 6-0 and managed to add another goal before the end, taking his tally for the season to 19 and bringing Spurs a 33rd goal in 33 days.
Son had a great chance to open the scoring after eight minutes when he raced clear through the middle to take advantage of a deflection from a defender that fell into his path. He only had Scott Davies to beat but his early shot was unconvincing and allowed the goalkeeper to save with his legs.
Davies made a rather better save a few minutes later when Connor Jennings lingered too long on the ball in his own half, inviting Juan Foyth to dispossess him with a crunching tackle. The ball again broke kindly for Son, who this time slipped Lucas Moura in to his left, only for the goalkeeper to leave his line quickly to smother the low shot.
Tranmere were soaking up all the pressure in the early stages and Scott made another save to deny a speculative long shot from Ben Davies. It took a while for the home side to break out of their own half, and when they did Jake Caprice carried the ball out of play before he could get a cross over from the right, then Jay Harris overhit a pass when James Norwood wanted a return ball in to the area. Jennings had a thunderous shot blocked by Foyth before Tranmere’s clearest opportunity arrived, but Norwood missed the target by miles when he had the chance to either work Paolo Gazzaniga or let Jennings have a try from a better angle.
Spurs did not have their very best team out, with Harry Kane, Moussa Sissoko and Christian Eriksen on the bench along with Toby Alderweireld. They were in control nevertheless, and almost took the lead on the half hour when Fernando Llorente volleyed narrowly over from a corner. Manny Monthe rose to meet a Liam Ridehalgh corner at the other end shortly afterwards, and Gazzaniga had to make his first save of the game to prevent the header creeping under the bar.
Just when Rovers must have been thinking they might reach half-time unscathed Serge Aurier put Spurs ahead with a screamer from 30 yards out. Aurier had merely been standing in the centre of the pitch to provide notional cover at a Tottenham corner when a series of half-clearances by Tranmere sent the ball his way. He was a long way out but his first time shot had power and accuracy and arrowed its way into Davies’s top-left corner.
There was very little chance for Tranmere to do anything to save the game as Tottenham increased their lead almost immediately after half-time. Son made one of his irresistible charges to the goalline and might well have shot had the angle not been impossibly narrow. Instead he looked up and picked out Llorente perfectly and the striker tucked away one of the easier goals of his Spurs career from the six-yard line.
Tranmere did have an opportunity to pull a goal back when the ball broke to Harvey Gilmour a few yards out, though with the goal at his mercy the midfielder put his shot over the bar. Lucas nearly added a third for the visitors when he skipped neatly around Stephen McNulty but tripped himself up in the process of rounding the goalkeeper, but it hardly mattered, Spurs were still four up before the hour mark. First Son set up Aurier for his second goal of the evening, a less spectacular effort than the first with the ball only just evading the efforts of the Tranmere defenders to stop it on the line, then Son popped up in space on the left and beat Scott with a low shot rolled into the far corner. When the South Korean was substituted a few minutes later he left the field to applause from all sides of the ground.
Two close-range finishes from Llorente in quick succession were harsh on the Tranmere defence, as was the sight of Kane taking the field at 6-0 to replace him, before lifting a shot over Scott 10 minutes from time. Ollie Banks had a shot saved and Caprice might have done better with a shooting opportunity but Tranmere were rarely far enough upfield to seek consolation. They were too busy trying to keep the score in single figures. – Guardian service