Belfast Telegraph

Seven up for Spurs as they dish out lesson to Tranmere

Tranmere 0 Tottenham 7

On its way: Son Heung-min scores Tottenham’s fourth goal past Scott Davies of Tranmere Rovers
On its way: Son Heung-min scores Tottenham’s fourth goal past Scott Davies of Tranmere Rovers

By Simon Peach

Fernando Llorente scored a hat-trick as Tottenham ran amok at Tranmere, with Mauricio Pochettino's swashbuckling side netting seven as they cruised through their FA Cup third-round tie.

The Premier League title contenders took on the League Two play-off hopefuls at a sell-out Prenton Park last night.

But Spurs avoided any issues against Tranmere as Pochettino's much-changed side dominated, with Llorente's treble complementing a Serge Aurier brace, a stunning Son Heung-min solo goal and a Harry Kane effort.

The north Londoners had progressed from 17 of their past 18 FA Cup ties against lower-league opposition, but Pochettino, looking for his first trophy, last season saw his side taken to a replay by Newport and Rochdale.

There were no such problems against Tranmere, with early missed chances atoned for as Aurier's long-range strike bent into the top corner via a slight deflection before a devastating second-half display.

Llorente scored before Aurier completed his brace - both goals were set up by Son, who would score his own in some style as he ran from his own half.

Spurs will miss the South Korea international when he heads off to the Asian Cup and could rue a January exit for Llorente, who completed a second-half hat-trick before being replaced by Kane - a move greeted by concerned home jeers and swiftly followed by a goal.

Tottenham captain Dele Alli said: "It took us a while, we knew it wouldn't be easy and it was about attitude and mentality. A wonder strike is what it takes sometimes at a place like this.

"They were defending well and it took a bit of quality to break them down. In the second half we showed our quality.

"We know the quality we have in attack. They would have wanted a replay and for us we wanted to leave with a comfortable win."

Tranmere boss Micky Mellon said: "You have to say that Spurs are fantastic. We will be disappointed with certain moments and a lot of the goals. But that's what happens when you make mistakes. You get punished. We got punished very, very heavily.

"They are a fantastic football team with outrageously good players. Sometimes you have to put your hands up and say they were brilliant. It's a tough night for the boys but a fantastic achievement to bring Spurs here."

It was quite the performance from a Tottenham side showing eight changes from the midweek win at Cardiff.

Son was one of those to retain their place and was denied by goalkeeper Scott Davies inside seven minutes, with Lucas Moura fluffing his lines soon after.

Connor Jennings, James Norwood and Manny Monthe then had efforts as Tranmere tried to spring a surprise.

Llorente went close with a volley on the turn during that spell, before Tottenham went ahead in the 40th minute.

Tranmere cleared after some patient build-up play, but Norwood was dispossessed as he looked to hold the ball up and Aurier unleashed a thumping strike with the outside of his boot.

Three minutes after half-time and the tie was all but over as Son sent a low cross over for Llorente to turn home.

Moura saw a penalty appeal against Davies rejected shortly before the Tranmere goalkeeper was beaten by Aurier. Son took a superb touch and played wide to the overlapping full-back, whose low effort got over the line.

That 55th-minute effort was soon followed by another. Son picked up the ball inside his own half and burst through before turned beyond Davies.

After George Marsh came on for his Spurs debut, Oliver Skipp capped his second start by playing through Llorente to notch the visitors' fifth in the 71st minute.

Just 66 seconds later and the Spaniard secured the match ball, with Moura this time provider.

And Kane then wrapped things up shortly after coming on.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph