Troy Parrott misses in shoot-out as Spurs crash out of FA Cup
A fourth defeat in a row for Jose Mourinho’s team as Norwich progress on penalties
Norwich City goalkeeper Tim Krul talks to Tottenham Hotspur’s Troy Parrott before his penalty. Photograph: PA
Tottenham 1 Norwich 1 (Norwich win 3-2 on penalties)
Tottenham suffered a fourth defeat in a row as they were bundled out of the FA Cup by a resolute Norwich – the visitors, bottom of the Premier League, outlasting José Mourinho’s team to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 1992.
After Jan Vertonghen’s early goal was cancelled out by a goalkeeping error from Michel Vorm that elicited an equaliser from Josip Drmic, Spurs fell apart in the shootout as Tim Krul saved two penalties. Erik Lamela, young Irish striker Troy Parrott (who was sent on towards the end of the first period of extra-time)and Gedson Fernandes all failed to score from the spot.
Tottenham arrived in the fifth round with their form crumbling before their eyes, three consecutive defeats. As the frustration has risen, Mourinho has spent so much of his time attempting to manage expectations and divert attention from his own decisions by reminding the world at every opportunity of the crippling injuries surrounding his team.
But even if the absences of key players like Harry Kane and Son Heung-min would be a nightmare for most teams, they hadn’t fully explained his own indecision as he flitted through four different formations in the last four games. Here he altered the chemistry again, abandoning the back three employed in the 3-2 defeat to Wolves in favour of a return to 4-2-3-1, with Vorm appearing for his first game since October 2018 while youngster Oliver Skipp was drafted into midfield.
It was only natural that the decisive moment of the opening half should come from Mourinho’s other change. A month ago, Vertonghen sat inconsolable on the Spurs bench, fighting tears after being substituted in the 54th minute of Spurs’ 3-2 win over Southampton. After a battering by Mason Mount against Chelsea later that month, he was dropped against Wolves and he had every reason to hang his head low.
Instead, Vertonghen burst into this match by setting the scene. After waves of promising counter-attacks and excellent play from the likes of Harry Winks and Giovani Lo Celso, it was the Belgian who turned their encouraging start into something meaningful as he headed a Lo Celso free-kick into the net for the first goal.
Throughout the first half, Norwich showed precisely why they have generated so much goodwill despite sitting rock bottom. As usual, they built nicely from the back and silkily combined with pretty combinations but the likes of Emi Buendia and Todd Cantwell also failed to endanger Tottenham with their possession. Meanwhile, the home team was a constant threat each time they picked up the ball soared into counter-attacks, often driven by Lo Celso. By the end of the first half, Norwich crept closer to the final third and generated more opportunities, but they were fleeting and their most opportune moment was underlined by Vorm, rusty after so long absent, who fumbled a routine catch that very nearly comically spun backwards into his own net.
However, Norwich had built a solid foundation by the end of the first half and they opened the second half by creating opportunities and testing the Tottenham defence at will. In the thick of everything good was Cantwell, hair flowing and feet twirling as he made his mark on the match. His influence was underlined by one particularly succulent combination as he was almost sent clear on goal by Buendia after a silky pair of one-two combinations as the Norwich attack finally embarked on its first extended assault on Vorm’s goal.
By the 70th minute, Norwich had dominated much of the second half and Josip Drmic came closest for the away team as his attempt bounced just wide, but industrious defending from Dier in particular kept them at bay. Mourinho responded to the pressure by replacing a puffing Steven Bergwijn with Fernandes and as the game settled down, he brought on Erik Lamela, so effective in the final minutes against Chelsea, for a tired Moura.
But after their earlier suffering, Norwich were in full flow and their sustained pressure finally led to an equaliser. In the end, it was another disastrous piece of goalkeeping from Vorm as he dropped a routine attempted save straight into the path of Drmic, who scored easily. As the away side flowed, Tottenham struggled and in their most advanced role, Alli looked a shadow of himself as he continually lost the ball and halted attacks.
As the game flitted to its conclusion, Tottenham responded immediately and moved on to the front foot, but they simply could not finish it off. An attempt from Serge Aurier was heroically cleared off the line by Ben Godfrey, but otherwise their consistent pressure came to nothing as the game was forced into extra time.
As the home fans continually sighed in dismay, extra time was more memorable for the tired legs and the notable play than the few paltry chances created by either team. A low drive from Lo Celso forced Krul to make a crucial save and the occasional burst of energy from Lamela sent Norwich scrambling, but when an excellent dribble by Lo Celso presented Fernandes with a great opportunity on the edge of the area, he blazed his strike well over the bar.