Stunned Spurs are knocked out of the cup after late Norwich comeback
Capital One Cup: Norwich 2 Tottenham 1
Tottenham were eliminated from the Capital One Cup after a dramatic turnaround at Carrow Road, as Norwich came from behind to strike twice in the final seven minutes and win the tie.
Spurs looked set for a place in the quarter-finals after Gareth Bale’s 66th-minute opener, but the Canaries launched a late fightback and scored from two set pieces to turn the match on its head.
The Lilywhites had a golden opportunity to take the game to extra-time as Kyle Walker won an 88th-minute penalty, but Clint Dempsey’s spot-kick was saved by Mark Bunn.
There were seven changes to the Spurs side that had beaten Southampton, with Walker, Steven Caulker, Bale and Dempsey the only survivors.
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Hugo Lloris started in goal, while Andre Villas-Boas opted for a youthful core to his midfield with Jake Livermore partnering Tom Carroll, who made his first start of the season.
Meanwhile, Norwich boss Chris Hughton – a former Tottenham player and assistant coach – selected a second-string side, making 10 changes to his starting XI.
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There was little to interest the fans in the opening exchanges as Spurs struggled to find a way through a defensive-minded and toothless home side, but the visitors gradually assumed control of the game.
Villas-Boas made an early tactical change as Bale and Yago Falque swapped flanks, and it paid dividends as the Welshman quickly got the better of his marker, Marc Tierney.
With 18 minutes gone, Tierney made a mess of Falque’s hopeful crossfield ball, heading the ball to Bale, who cut inside and whipped a left-footed effort at goal.
It was straight at Bunn, but that moment set the tone for the rest of the half – and highlighted Tottenham’s best route of attack.
Bale was soon running at Tierney again, advancing from the halfway line and slipping infield before playing a through ball to Dempsey, who prodded his effort over the bar.
Spurs had a brief scare as Steve Morison met Robert Snodgrass’ corner at the back post, but he directed his header at Lloris.
The Lilywhites were soon on the front foot again, and Bale darted to the near post to meet Livermore’s low cross but could only flick the ball into the side netting.
Falque then delivered a deep cross from the left and Bale was there again. His effort was deflected to the edge of the box, and Walker ran onto the loose ball with purpose but scewed his 25-yard shot well wide.
Bale tried his luck again, coming infield off his wing for the umpteenth time and sending a low piledriver narrowly wide.
Tierney was having a torrid time and, as if he had not suffered enough, his torturer then came flying into him with a late sliding tackle and deservedly received a yellow card.
Norwich had a brief sight of goal towards the end of the half as Jonny Howson sent an ambitious volley wide, but Bale made sure that Tierney would not forget him during the interval, ending the half with a searing run around the outside of the full-back and sending in a low cross which Bunn dived to stop.
Oddly, Bale started the second half back on the left flank – and Norwich nearly scored soon after the restart. Andrew Surman played a one-two with Jacob Butterfield to open up a clear sight of goal in the box, but Caulker made a superb sliding block to deny him.
At the other end, Morison headed Falque’s dangerous inswinging corner past his own onrushing keeper and was relieved to see it drop wide for a corner – and the increasingly influential Falque then played a superb defence-splitting pass for Bale, who raced in behind right-back Steven Whittaker and forced a save from Bunn at his near post.
Moments later, Falque cut infield from the left flank and unleashed a 20-yard effort which had to be palmed away from the top corner at full stretch.
Norwich could have grabbed the lead as Morison wriggled free in the box, but Lloris raced off his line to smother the ball – and Tottenham promptly went ahead.
Bale gathered the ball with his back to goal on the left of the area, turned infield onto his right foot and sent a low 25-yard effort flying into the bottom corner.
Norwich could have levelled five minutes later as Snodgrass teed up Howson, who unleashed a goalbound effort from the edge of the box, but Lloris reacted quickly to make a flying save.
It looked like Tottenham were going to progress smoothly in the quarter-finals, but they lost their lead with seven minutes left as Snodgrass’ corner dropped to Alex Tettey, and his volley flew the net off the Spurs substitute Jan Vertonghen.
Spurs were shocked – and it rapidly got worse for them as the Canaries struck again.
Grant Holt, who had emerged from the bench in the 82nd minute, beat Michael Dawson and Vertonghen to an inswinging free-kick and, although Lloris saved his header, Elliott Bennett was on hand to force the ball home.
A dramatic climax took another twist as Walker was felled in the box by Tierney to win a penalty – but Dempsey was denied by Bunn.
Tottenham had one last chance to send the game into extra-time as Dawson met Bale’s low cross in the box, but his effort was straight at the Norwich keeper as Spurs were knocked out.
Tottenham: Lloris, Walker (Defoe 90), Dawson, Caulker, Naughton, Livermore (Huddlestone 45), Carroll (Vertonghen 79), Falque, Sigurdsson, Bale, Dempsey
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs