Spurs 3 Morecambe 1: After conceding an early goal to the League One minnows, Winks, Lucas, and Kane save Conte’s FA Cup blushes.
ANTONIO CONTE relied on substitutes Lucas Moura and Harry Kane to save Tottenham from their worst FA Cup defeat.
Spurs trailed Anthony O’Connor’s first-half opener until the 75th minute, when a fluke Harry Winks equaliser and late goals from Moura and Kane got Conte’s side into the fourth round.
However, several Tottenham’s fringe players and others who Conte has given limited first-team opportunities had a bad day.
Conte’s naughty list will include Dele Alli, Tanguy Ndombele, and Bryan Gil, who were all sent off midway through the second half after poor performances against relegation-threatened League One side Morecambe.
Spurs had not been knocked out of the Cup by a team from outside the top two divisions since Port Vale 34 years ago, but a home defeat by tiny Morecambe would have been even worse.
There was a sense that Spurs were beginning to take Conte seriously until last Wednesday’s humiliating Carabao Cup semi-final first-leg defeat at Chelsea – a 2-0 loss that could have easily been four or five goals.
Conte fielded a full complement of experienced first-team players despite making eight changes.
Ben Davies nodded on to the roof of the net from one corner, and Matt Doherty bundled an effort on to the outside of the far post from another.
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The Spurs defense, on the other hand, was jittery every time Morecambe went forward.
Pierluigi Gollini saved a decent shot from Shane McLoughlin, and a Joe Rodon back-pass almost let Cole Stockton in.
Tottenham’s passing became increasingly shoddy, their movement almost non-existent, and by the time the Shrimps took the lead, it felt like it had been coming for a long time.
Another misunderstanding between Rodon and Gollini, who don’t seem to get along, resulted in the Welshman conceding an unnecessary corner.
By the time Alfie McCalmont’s corner arrived, O’Connor had shrugged off his marker Japhet Tanganga and was in glorious isolation, having just executed a glorious nutmeg of Bryan Gil in his own area.
Thousands of Morecambe fans descended into a mass of flailing limbs at the opposite end of the Lane.
It was the kind of FA Cup euphoria that only occurs when you’ve gotten up before dawn for a 500-mile round trip in the hope that something extraordinary would happen – and it did.
Giovanni Lo Celso was soon kicking Morecambe’s asses…
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