Spurs and Liverpool survive FA Cup scares
Tottenham scored a flurry of late goals as they avoided an embarrassing FA Cup exit at the hands of third-tier Morecambe on Sunday while Liverpool came from behind to beat lowly Shrewsbury 4-1.
West Ham beat Leeds 2-0 in the day’s only third-round match featuring two Premier League teams and Wolves saw off Championship side Sheffield United 3-0.
A much-changed Spurs were trailing at half-time against their League One opponents but Harry Winks levelled and substitutes Lucas Moura and Harry Kane scored late on to seal a 3-1 win.
Morecambe boss Stephen Robinson was absent for the game against the club at which he began his playing career after testing positive for coronavirus.
Spurs — 59 places higher than their opponents in the English league system — dominated the opening half an hour but the visitors went ahead in the 33rd minute when captain Anthony O’Connor converted from close range following a corner.
The home was level in the 74th minute but they needed a fluke — midfielder Winks overhit a free-kick from the left-hand side but it caught goalkeeper Trevor Carson out and sailed into the far corner.
Moura put Spurs ahead in the 85th minute after rounding the goalkeeper and Kane made sure Spurs would progress.
“Our target was to go to the next round and we won the game,” said Conte, who made eight changes from the side that lost to Chelsea in the first leg of their League Cup semi-final in midweek.
“For sure we struggled a lot in the first part of the game and conceded a goal from the set-piece,” he told the BBC.
“We deserve to win because in these types of games you have to show your strength. They defended with 11 players and that’s normal in these games but it is important to find the right solution.”
– Klopp returns –
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, back in the dugout at Anfield after completing his isolation period following a positive test for Covid-19, watched as his side went behind before recovering strongly.
Liverpool named five youth team players in their team to face League One side, Shrewsbury, after a Covid-affected build-up to the match, with more academy players on the bench.
The Merseyside club has also had to deal with injuries and are without Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita, all of whom are at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Shrewsbury struck with their first real attack of any threat when Daniel Udoh fired home from close range following a Nathanael Ogbeta cross.
But the home side was level just seven minutes later when Kaide Gordon, aged 17 years and 96 days, became the second-youngest goalscorer in the club’s history.
Liverpool was ahead just before half-time when Ethan Ebanks-Landell handled an aerial challenge with Virgil van Dijk and Fabinho converted the penalty.
Substitute Roberto Firmino increased Liverpool’s lead 12 minutes from time with a close-range backheel and Fabinho scored his second with the last kick of the game.
“We’ve trained since Friday pretty much and that is what we decided with this line-up,” said Klopp. “The boys really fought hard.
“When you get the first goal against you so many things can happen but I liked the way we responded.”
West Ham took the lead at the London Stadium in the 34th minute when Manuel Lanzini lashed home and Jarrod Bowen doubled the home side’s lead deep into stoppage time.
Wolves beat Sheffield United courtesy of two goals from Daniel Podence and one from Nelson Semedo while Premier League strugglers Norwich saw off third-tier Charlton 1-0.
There were also wins for Cardiff, Luton and Stoke.
Fourteen-times FA Cup winners Arsenal are in action at Nottingham Forest in the late kick off on Sunday.
On Saturday, Premier League side Newcastle suffered a shock 1-0 defeat at the hands of third-tier Cambridge, while non-league sides Kidderminster and Boreham Wood also booked their places in the fourth round.