Tottenham strolled through to the FA Cup semifinals as they beat Millwall 6-0 at White Hart Lane — though the win wasn’t without its setbacks.
Mauricio Pochettino named a strong Tottenham side to take on their League One opponents, one designed to ensure their progress.
The key member of that side was Harry Kane. The England international just won the Premier League Player of the Month for February and currently leads the race for the Golden Boot. No one was going to ask Kane to miss out on an opportunity to build on an already wonderful season.
Seven minutes in — before Tottenham even managed to get on the scoreboard — Kane found himself with a sliver of space at a tight angle on Millwall’s goal. He got the shot away, but an attempt to block from a Millwall defender left him wincing beyond the touchline after the ball went out of play.
Kane was brought off immediately, though he was able to walk without support to the dressing room. Regardless, the prospect of spending any more time this season without the talismanic striker could be enough to deflate Spurs’ favorite status against Millwall.
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The squad kept their heads high, especially after Christian Eriksen was brought in to replace Kane. Heung-min Son was moved to centre-forward and, together with Dele Alli and robust wing-back support, kept the pressure on the visitors.
It was the substitute who found a way through first though. Eriksen found the ball at the edge of Millwall’s area and struck it through with precision. Tottenham were 1-0 in the 31st minute.
Now forced to come out of their shell if they wanted to stay in the game, Millwall looked even more vulnerable. Neither the opposition nor context took anything away from Son’s goal in the 41st minute. The South Korean arced the ball from 20 yards, easily beating an otherwise impressive Tom King in Millwall’s goal.
The tie effectively won, Tottenham strolled through the opening stages of the second half. Son scored again off a wonderful chipped ball from Kieran Trippier less than ten minutes in, and Millwall’s fight was effectively spent.
A rare Millwall set piece in Tottenham’s half came to nothing, and as if to punctuate the encounter the hosts scored almost immediately thereafter. Eriksen threaded through a pass for Dele on the far post, who dispatched the goal with ease.
Somehow, the scoring wasn’t done yet. Dele went off after his goal, Vincent Janssen coming on. Tottenham’s number 9 got set up in the 79th minute by Son and easily found a way through to goal. It was the Dutch striker’s first goal from open play for Spurs.
The story of the date though was completed by Son’s goal in the 92nd minute. That brought the score up to 6-0, and gave the South Korean his first ever hat-trick for Tottenham.
Such a gulf in quality was never going to create a riveting game. Truth be told, that’s likely precisely what Pochettino wanted. His side played a cool and competent game, earning a deserved win as a result.
Kane’s injury overshadows virtually everything else about this match unfortunately. Tottenham already went a spell without the striker in the autumn, and it often wasn’t pretty. With any luck he was simply brought off as a precaution more than anything else.