Football: Lucas Moura rescues Tottenham, Chelsea ease into FA Cup fourth round

Ashley Fletcher timing his run to perfection as he stayed onside and got behind the Tottenham defence before coolly finishing past goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga. His goal in the 50th minute gave Boro the lead but it only lasted 11 minutes. Lucas Moura e
Ashley Fletcher timing his run to perfection as he stayed onside and got behind the Tottenham defence before coolly finishing past goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga. His goal in the 50th minute gave Boro the lead but it only lasted 11 minutes. Lucas Moura equalised for the Premier League side.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Mourinho's full-strength side need Moura's equaliser to earn replay against C'ship outfit

LONDON • Jose Mourinho used to be renowned for being a master at parking the bus, but under him, Tottenham, and Manchester United before that, have registered just one clean sheet across his last 17 games in all competitions.

And a first clean sheet in 15 successive away games yesterday again proved elusive for the Spurs manager after his side drew 1-1 at Middlesbrough in their FA Cup third-round tie.

It was a drab affair at the Riverside, with the hosts opening the scoring five minutes into the second half via Ashley Fletcher, only for Spurs to peg them back 11 minutes later courtesy of Lucas Moura.

While the majority of Premier League sides opted to rotate their squads over the weekend, Mourinho was worried that the Championship side might be a banana skin for his team as he named a full-strength side, barring injuries.

But despite facing top-flight opposition, Middlesbrough were good value for the draw.

Their Spanish goalkeeper Tomas Mejias, who was making his first start of the season, also frustrated Spurs with several fine saves as Boro earned a replay, which will be held at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium next week.

Insisting their second bite at the cherry was "well deserved", Fletcher told Sky Sports: "It was a great ball through from (George) Saville and I had plenty of time to think but I just slid it past (Paulo) Gazzaniga.

"We had to sustain a lot of pressure but thankfully, we stood strong."

Mourinho was left to lament "a frustrating afternoon" but insisted his players could do no better as Harry Kane's injury meant they were missing "a target man who we could organise behind".

  • FA CUP 3RD ROUND

    Ties involving EPL teams

    YESTERDAY

    Crystal Palace 0 Derby 1

    Chelsea 2 Nottingham Forest 0

    Middlesbrough 1 Tottenham 1

    Sheffield United 2 Fylde 1

    Liverpool v Everton
    Late kick-off

    Gillingham v West Ham
    Late kick-off

    TODAY

    Arsenal v Leeds
    Ch111, tomorrow, 3.55am

He added: "We were losing against a team who defends with a lot of soul and a lot of bodies. We were the team who had the chances and we missed an easy last ball and we should win it.

"The great thing was the way everyone reacted and the boys on the pitch reacted. Then we took risks and we created so many chances in the last 10 minutes but we could only draw."

Boro manager Jonathan Woodgate, who scored Spurs' winning goal in the 2008 League Cup final against Chelsea, described Tottenham as "a top, top team" and said: "We know they play a high line so we thought we would have chances to get in. We've stayed with our principles of the game. I was playing with two No. 8s at centreback but I thought they stuck at it and we were really good defensively."

Unlike Spurs, Chelsea were much changed at Stamford Bridge, with manager Frank Lampard bringing in the likes of Willy Caballero, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ross Barkley and Pedro to face second-tier Nottingham Forest. It did not faze the Blues as they dispatched the Championship side 2-0. Hudson-Odoi and Barkley were both on target in the first half to ensure their progress into the fourth round.

There was, however, an upset by a Championship side as Derby beat Crystal Palace 1-0 at Selhurst Park.

Chris Martin scored the only goal of the game and the Eagles could not find a way through the Rams' defence after Luka Milivojevic was sent off in the second half following an altercation with Tom Huddlestone.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 06, 2020, with the headline 'Boro hold Spurs to stalemate'. Print Edition | Subscribe