Posts tagged "fa cup"

Diego Costa and Ruben Loftus-Cheek see off dogged League One visitors

Teenage midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek's first senior goal settled a niggly FA Cup third round tie as Chelsea ground past Scunthorpe 2-0 at Stamford Bridge.    

Diego Costa's fourth goal in three games handed Chelsea the perfect start, only for Guus Hiddink's men to drift off and allow League One side Scunthorpe to turn the tie into a scrap.

The 19-year-old Loftus-Cheek's composed finish secured Chelsea safe passage to the fourth round, though, after Scunthorpe were denied a second-half penalty.

Chelsea will hope England Under-21 star Loftus-Cheek's tidy performance points to a coming of age, after limited past opportunities.

And interim Blues boss Hiddink will be heartened by hit man Costa taking another step forward in his fight for top form.

Total first-half control caused Chelsea to switch off and coast to a 1-0 advantage at the break.

Costa sneaked goal-side of the defence to turn home Branislav Ivavonic's cross and hand the hosts the perfect opening.

Oscar curled wide from 16 yards instead of doubling the lead, doing an injustice to his step-over and link return ball from Costa - the pair combining well after their set-to in training this week.

Pedro then spurned another fine Chelsea chance, scuffing his finish after a lose first touch. Willian's smart step-over drew the defence after Fabregas' raking pass set Ivanovic away down the right.

Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta's tangle set Williams tearing away down the right, but Kurt Zouma pulled off the perfect sliding cover tackle to deny the winger a one-on-one.

Suddenly emboldened, Scunthorpe pressed again, only for Kevin Van Neen's cross to evade Neal Bishop.

Hiddink took off Oscar at half-time in favour of youngster Loftus-Cheek, but still the craved impetus failed to arrive.

Chelsea were handed another let-off when referee Craig Pawson denied Scunthorpe a penalty despite Ramires tangling with Van Neen in the box.

Ramires appeared to tread on the Scunthorpe forward's foot, but the appeals went unanswered.

Bishop and Stephen Dawson hounded Costa into losing possesion in his own half, only to be hauled back for a foul on the Spain striker.

Finally Chelsea killed the tie, the long-overdue second goal courtesy of the highly-rated Loftus-Cheek.

Ramires broke up play and fed Willian, who set Azpilicueta free on the overlap. Costa's selfless near-post run drew the defence and Loftus-Cheek swept home.

Van Neen dragged a free-kick just wide in a bid to catch Begovic cold at his near post, before Scunthorpe were lucky not to concede a penalty of their own, Loftus-Cheek's progress in the box seemingly stopped by a stray hand.

Jordan Clarke's pile driver shot then forced Begovic into a first-class reaction save to tip onto the angle of post and bar, but by that stage Chelsea were home and hosed.

Kemar raises the Roofe as Oxford dump Swansea out of the FA Cup

Kemar Roofe was Oxford's two-goal hero as Swansea found themselves on the wrong end of the first major upset of the FA Cup third round.    

Former West Brom youngster Roofe scored twice in the second half as the League Two Us came from behind to stun the Premier League side 3-2.

Alan Curtis made 10 changes for his first match since being named Swans manager until the end of the season - then watched in horror from the touchline as the decision backfired spectacularly. 

There was little sign of the drama to come when Swansea took the lead, albeit against the run of play, thanks to a stylish goal by Jefferson Montero.

Oxford deservedly hit back through Liam Sercombe's penalty before half-time, and then Roofe blew the Swans away with his quickfire double after the break.

Bafetimbi Gomis pulled one back but the visitors could not find an equaliser and slipped to a chastening defeat.

United boss Michael Appleton vowed not to change his side's passing style - despite taking on one of the Premier League's pass masters - and at times it was hard to tell which side was 54 league places above the other.

Certainly Oxford carved out the better chances in the opening half an hour, while Swansea seemed to be relying on the scattergun approach to shooting favoured by Jonjo Shelvey, with predictably dire results.

Roofe headed George Baldock's cross narrowly over before Ryan Taylor's header was only kept out by a fingertip save from Swans keeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt.

Yet just as Oxford were building up a head of steam, the Swans brought a genuine touch of top-flight class to the proceedings.

A swift counter-attack saw Montero charge into the area, play a neat one-two with Marvin Emnes and impudently back-heel the ball past United goalkeeper Sam Slocombe.

But with half-time approaching Oxford were gifted a way back into the game by stand-in Swans skipper Kyle Bartley.

Nordfelt had pulled off a fine save to keep out Jake Wright's shot, but when the rebound eventually fell to Alex McDonald, Bartley inadvisedly slid into the midfielder.

Contact may have been minimal but it was a ridiculous challenge in the area and referee Kevin Friend pointed to the spot, allowing Sercombe to crash home the penalty.  

Then after the break Roofe took over, first when he picked up the ball on the corner of the penalty area.

The 23-year-old skipped inside his marker and took a couple of steps forward before guiding an unstoppable curler across Nordfeldt and into the far corner.

And worse was to follow for the Swans when they conceded a goal from their own corner just before the hour mark, Chris Maguire racing clear before feeding Roofe, whose shot hit Nordfeldt but looped up and bounced into the net.

Gomis pulled one back in the 66th minute with an angled finish after Jack Cork found him in the penalty area, but Swansea went back into their shell and Oxford were able to see out the game without any further drama to register a famous victory.

Mauricio Pochettino promises to serenade White Hart Lane with Daniel Levy if Tottenham win FA Cup

Mauricio Pochettino has promised he and Daniel Levy will serenade a packed White Hart Lane if Tottenham Hotspur win the FA Cup after being inspired by a live performance of Ossie's Dream.    

Tottenham head coach Pochettino was taken to dinner with a host of club legends by chairman Levy on Thursday night and Ossie Ardiles treated the room to chorus of his famous 1981 FA Cup final song.

Ahead of Sunday's FA Cup third round tie against Leicester City, Pochettino admitted it is a dream of his to lift a trophy with Spurs and duet with Levy in front of the club's fans.

"Ossie sang in front of all of us and it was very funny," said Pochettino. "We had all the legends there and he was singing about 'Tottingham.' It was funny.

"I promised Daniel (Levy) to sing if we win a trophy, but he will be with me to sing. We will sing together. Maybe after we've won a trophy, we will decide what song.

"It is true, I promised I will sing, but he will need to sing with me. In the stadium, in front of our supporters."

The 1981 FA Cup success that involved Ardiles and Ricky Villa, who scored a famous goal in the final replay against Manchester City, helped Pochettino understand the worldwide appeal of the competition.

"It got a lot of attention," said Pochettino. "Always when someone from your country wins the trophy, like they did, it gets a lot of attention at home. I have many dreams but one, why not, is to win trophies.

"First we need to set a strong basis and philosophy, but it's true our dream is to lift trophies and achieve important things for the club. This is one of our motivations."

The legends dinner was the idea of Levy and Pochettino believes Tottenham's current era of players and staff can learn a lot from the past.

"It was a pleasure to meet all the legends," said Pochettino. "It was a fantastic idea from Daniel. A lot of names were there - Ossie was next to me, Micky Hazard, Pat Jennings, Tony Galvin.

"I think it was good that they feel an important part of the history and the present of the club and I think to feel that history is very important for us. It was a lovely night to share with them ideas and experience. Their experience can help us and help the club.

"Tottenham is a big club and, yes, it's for that we need to hear, to listen to the people who had experience of winning trophies. That was very important and we hope that all together we can lift some trophies in the future. It's our dream, it's their dream."

One player Pochettino insists wants to become a Tottenham legend is striker Harry Kane, who is being monitored by Real Madrid.

Pochettino is well aware that Kane will be on the shopping lists of some of the biggest clubs in the world, but is confident the 22-year-old will stay at White Hart Lane. 

Asked about Real's interest in Kane, Pochettino said: "It doesn't surprise me, I think Harry Kane is one of the best strikers in Europe, or in the world.

"It would not surprise me if some big clubs are interested. But when you feel from a player like Harry the passion for the club, for the shirt, I think in football sometimes it is about business, it is about money, but for a lot of players it is about passion, heart, feeling.

"Sometimes a manager or head coach can say a 'player is not for sale', but the player wants to leave. There are a lot of examples of that. But in this case, the good thing is that Tottenham don't want to sell him and Harry Kane wants to stay with us."

FA Cup over Top Four?

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic would rather win the FA Cup than qualify for the Champions League.    

Bilic made the claim ahead of the Hammers' third round clash with Sky Bet Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Boleyn Ground. 

His statement of intent will be music to the ears of West Ham supporters, who were angry when previous manager Sam Allardyce fielded a team of youngsters in a 5-0 third round defeat at Nottingham Forest two years ago.

Allardyce was concentrating his resources on a relegation battle but, with West Ham currently sixth in the Premier League, Bilic can turn his attentions to bringing a first FA Cup in 36 years to east London.

Asked if he would rather finish in the top four or lift the famous old trophy, Bilic said: "I would like to win the cup. Of course.