May 24 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, November 1, 2012
Norwich City staged a miraculous comeback to stun Tottenham and clinch a Capital One Cup quarter-final place at Carrow Road last night.
City looked to be heading out after the inspired Gareth Bale rifled past Mark Bunn in the 66th minute but Chris Hughton produced a masterstroke with his introductions from the bench.
Alex Tettey’s 83rd minute strike was deflected past Hugo Loris by Jan Vertonghen before Grant Holt and Simeon Jackson combined to sink the high rollers from Robert Snodgrass’ cross.
And there was still time for a sting in the tail when Marc Tierney was harshly adjudged to have hauled down Kyle Walker a minute from time. Clint Dempsey stepped up from the penalty spot but Mark Bunn brilliantly parried the American’s right footer to spark wild scenes of celebration among his team mates.
Tottenham made their intentions clear inside the opening seconds – Jake Livermore and Tom Carroll belying their tender years to demand the ball in central areas to try and set the early tone for Andre Villas-Boas’ men.
Steve Morison’s muscular presence momentarily upset Michael Dawson but the alert Kyle Naughton served up a cameo of his displays in the yellow and green with an excellent anticipatory clearance as Jacob Butterfield sensed an opportunity to test French number one Hugo Lloris.
Dawson thudded a header clear shortly after with Morison again displaying a rich appetite for work outside the penalty area after a driving run and cross down the right flank. Morison surrendered after being enveloped by four Spurs’ defenders in the game’s first genuine opening following Andrew Surman’s slip pass to set the striker free following Kyle Walker’s miscue just inside his own half.
Bale elected to drift from left to right after a quiet opening introduction and the Welshman’s intuition paid off when he tested Bunn with a trademark dipping left footer grasped securely by the City back-up keeper.
Walker and Gylfi Sigurdsson’s minor disagreement after the England man had over-clubbed an intended cross field pass for Naughton hinted at traces of growing Tottenham frustration.
The visitors had undoubtedly controlled the opening period but Hughton’s well-drilled outfit exuded a degree of collective comfort despite prolonged spells without the ball.
The sublime Bale’s growing influence presented the one real degree of concern – Yago Falque received a 50 yard ball arrowed onto his left instep, but Steven Whittaker snapped into the tackle to thwart the young midfielder at source.
Bale then attracted three retreating Norwich defenders but the Welshman still had the awareness to locate Dempsey who poked wastefully over Bunn’s goal from just inside the City area.
Norwich responded in kind from two set-pieces midway through the half – Bale’s international team mate Morison headed straight at Lloris under intense pressure from Walker at the back post.
Falque then returned the favour with a vicious centre Bale diverted across Bunn’s six-yard box, only for the alert Turner to hack clear. Bale was rapidly turning into the star of the show but a wild sliding lunge on Tierney earned the wrath of referee Moss and the first caution of the cup tie five minutes before the break. Tottenham’s travelling support sought a distraction from the relatively low key fayre on offer when they serenaded the Norwich boss and Spurs old boy, who reciprocated by acknowledging the chants.
Norwich captain Jonny Howson finally brought the diehards to life with a long range swinging half volley that forced Lloris to race across his line after City’s best passage of possession football sparked by David Fox’s calming influence.
It was predictably Bale with the riposte to the Canaries’ impudence when he lined up the over-worked Tierney for a long range run to the byline but Bunn grasped the driven centre down to his near post.
Steven Caulker sensed danger seconds after the restart when he thwarted Andrew Surman from 16 yards when Morison’s perfectly-weighted short pass momentarily left Lloris exposed.
The City striker’s touch was less assured when he diverted Falque’s free kick inches past his own post with Bunn already committed.
Whittaker’s lapse in concentration was nearly costly when Bale latched onto the impressive Falque’s reverse ball but Bunn beat the angled strike away. Tottenham’s Spanish midfielder was beginning to wrestle away star billing from Bale with the latest in a series of pivotal contributions since the interval forcing Bunn to parry his left foot curler destined for the top corner.
Villas-Boas’ slick side were visibly pushing City deeper into their own territory with Morison an increasingly isolated figure as the visitors’ looked to feed wide boys Bale and Falque at regular intervals. Ryan Bennett’s intervention triggered a pressure-relieving counter. Butterfield’s sharp pass dropped in behind for Morison but Lloris was out bravely at the big striker’s feet to shovel away.
Tottenham finally made the breakthrough on 66 minutes and there was little element of surprise that Bale was central to the outcome – swivelling away from Fox before an unerringly accurate right foot strike drilled into Bunn’s bottom corner from the edge of the area.
Hughton introduced Jackson and Tettey to try and pep the hosts up for the final quarter but it was Howson who forced Lloris to push his stinging 20-yard drive over before Turner attempted to reprise his Villa heroics with a glancing header which Dempsey cleared stationed on the far post.
Turner was harshly adjudged to have hauled down Sigurdsson. Step forward Bale with his ‘Ronaldo’ run up, but Bunn collected the Welshman’s free kick at the second attempt. City’s best route back into the tie looked from set pieces but Snodgrass’ dipping centre from the right was glanced behind by Dempsey before Lloris punched to safety, but Vertonghen inadvertently handed City a lifeline on 83 minutes when he deflected Tettey’s half volley past Lloris to spark the fireworks.
City remarkably moved in front when arch predator Jackson slapped home after Lloris could only parry Holt’s flying header from Snodgrass’ free-kick. Back came Spurs in a breathless finish to the contest when Walker was adjudged to have tumbled under Tierney’s challenge but Bunn’s heroics foiled Dempsey before the City keeper was engulfed by his team mates.