Spurs survive scare to progress past Sheffield United and book League Cup final against Chelsea
PUBLISHED: 21:59 28 January 2015 | UPDATED: 09:51 29 January 2015
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Tottenham will face Chelsea in the League Cup final – a replay of their last trophy triumph in 2008 – after overcoming a big scare to progress past Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.
Spurs led 1-0 after the first leg last Wednesday and looked set for a comfortable 1-0 win over their League One hosts in Yorkshire tonight after Christian Eriksen’s sublime 28th-minute free kick.
However, 18-year-old Blades substitute Che Adams struck twice in three minutes and the tie was heading for extra time – until Eriksen popped up with a trademark late winner, securing a 3-2 aggregate victory and sending the Lilywhites to Wembley.
Mauricio Pochettino made eight changes from the side that had started Saturday’s FA Cup defeat against Leicester.
Michel Vorm was one of three players to keep his place – despite his costly late howler in that loss – but he played behind an entirely different back four, including Kyle Walker, who returned to the club where he started his career.
Jan Vertonghen took the armband in the absence of club captain Younes Kaboul and his two deputies, Hugo Lloris and Emmanuel Adebayor.
Pochettino elected to play Mousa Dembele in the No10 role behind Harry Kane, with Eriksen on the left flank.
Kane created something out of nothing early on, robbing Jay McEveley near the by-line, driving into the box and delivering a low cross, which was hacked clear.
Erik Lamela then slipped but managed to keep control of the ball and cut onto his left foot before blazing high and wide.
The first real chance went to the Blades though as Vorm dropped a cross, giving Jamie Murphy a shot at goal inside the area. Luckily for Spurs, Walker was there to clear it off the line.
At the other end, Kane had a good sight of goal from the edge of the United box but shot straight at Mark Howard – and Ryan Mason then tested the Blades keeper with a 35-yard effort.
Kane soon got in behind the Blades rearguard again, shooting into the side netting, and Spurs looked the more likely scorers.
So it proved as Benjamin Stambouli won a free kick on the right side of the box and Eriksen struck a sublime, outswinging free kick into the top left corner, in off the post.
Kane got in again, this time pausing and weighing up his options before shooting from a narrow angle and being denied by Howard
The impressive Dembele beat two men on the right side and squared the ball to Mason, who dragged his shot wide from the edge of the box. And, although Marc McNulty sent a volley wide of Vorm’s goal shortly before half-time, the Lilywhites looked comfortable at the break.
Dembele immediately picked up where he had left off before the interval, rolling past his man deep in his own half and making his way all the way to the other end of the pitch before finding Kane, who shot wide of the near post from the left corner of the six-yard box.
The Spurs striker soon had another opportunity, driving to the edge of the area and unleashing another low strike which was, again, straight at Howard.
Paulinho came on to replace the injured Dembele but Tottenham continued to threaten to extend their lead further, with Mason stabbing wide of goal.
However, United stunned Spurs with a 77th-minute goal as Ryan Flynn delivered an excellent low cross from the right and Adams scored his first goal for the club, finishing at the back post.
Moments later, Murphy beat Ben Davies far too easily and hung up a cross, and Adamstook a touch before hitting a shot which struck Dier and deflected past Vorm.
Having been defeated in very similar circumstances in the FA Cup on Saturday, Spurs were shell-shocked, and another Blades substitute, Louis Reed, nearly piled on the agony, firing just over the bar.
Instead, it was Tottenham who got the decisive late goal as Kane freed Eriksen, who slotted the ball into the bottom left corner in the 88th minute to send the travelling fans into delirium and book a trip to Wembley on March 1.
Tottenham: Vorm, Walker, Dier, Vertonghen, Davies, Stambouli, Mason (Rose 91), Lamela (Townsend 74), Dembele (Paulinho 66), Eriksen, Kane.
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