Troubled Millwall pull off FA Cup shock

 Millwall's English midfielder Fred Onyedinma (left) vying with Bournemouth's Australian midfielder Brad Smith during the English FA Cup third round football match between Millwall and Bournemouth at The Den in London on Jan 7, 2017.
Millwall's English midfielder Fred Onyedinma (left) vying with Bournemouth's Australian midfielder Brad Smith during the English FA Cup third round football match between Millwall and Bournemouth at The Den in London on Jan 7, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON • Millwall enjoyed a welcome respite from worrying about their future in English football by producing the biggest shock of the FA Cup third round with a 3-0 victory over Premier League side Bournemouth on Saturday.

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe was adamant that his top-flight side had not "disrespected" the famous old competition, despite fielding a second-string squad against the opponents from League One, the third tier of the English game.

He paid for it, though, with Millwall enjoying a thumping win with goals from Steve Morison, Shaun Cummings and Shane Ferguson.

It marked a notable day for the south-east London club at The Den, coming after a week in which Millwall conceded they might have to leave their home if the local council went ahead with plans to purchase and sell on land around the ground.

For an afternoon, though, the concerns were put aside as Howe completely changed the team that had drawn 3-3 with Arsenal in midweek for the visit to a club 44 places below them in the league pyramid.

Bournemouth were so poor that they failed to register a shot on target and became the first Premier League side to lose an FA Cup away match by three goals to opponents from the third tier or below.

"I'm not trying to disrespect the Cup, but the Premier League is very demanding and I've got to protect my players," Howe said.

Millwall manager Neil Harris said: "Three-nil didn't flatter us, we could have scored more."

Unlike Millwall, Leicester City had to fight back to reach the FA Cup fourth round and they did it largely thanks to Ahmed Musa, who finally began to justify his £16 million (S$28.28 million) transfer fee by scoring twice in five minutes to clinch a 2-1 win at Everton.

The Nigerian, signed from CSKA Moscow to bolster the Premier League champions' attacking options, has struggled to shine in his first season, scoring only twice, but impressed at Goodison Park after coming off the bench to replace Leandro Ulloa. He cancelled out Romelu Lukaku's 63rd-minute opener, then beat goalkeeper Joel Robles with a right-footed strike.

It was Leicester's first away victory in all domestic competitions this season and Musa's contribution was particularly pleasing for manager Claudio Ranieri, who also gave a debut to £15 million signing Wilfred Ndidi.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 09, 2017, with the headline 'Troubled Millwall pull off FA Cup shock'. Print Edition | Subscribe