Gedson Fernandes was the unlucky culprit as José Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur lost on penalties to Norwich in the FA Cup after a 1-1 draw in the capital. The former Benfica man missed the decisive kick as the visitors won the shootout 3-2, condemning Spurs to a fourth successive bad result in the process.
Elsewhere, there was better news for Ricardo Pereira , as the Portugal right-back scored the winning goal to send Leicester City into the quarter final draw thanks to a 1-0 win over Championship outfit Birmingham City.
Spurs’ elimination comes after three consecutive recent defeats, and after the match Mourinho emphasises the difficulties in coping with a squad stretched to the limit while coping with injuries. Jan Vertonghen’s 13th-minute opener was cancelled out in the second half by Josip Drmic for Norwich, who went on to emerge victorious on penalties after Spurs substitute Gedson saw his kick saved by Tim Krul.
“The boys gave what they have and what they don’t have,” Mourinho said. “Some reached their limit and told me ‘one more minute and I’m in big, big trouble’ while some of the others stayed in their limits. When I look at Lo Celso’s performance, it was absolutely incredible.
“I think we deserved to win on 90 minutes; we deserve to win on 120. I am so sad for the boys. Every boy that played was tremendous. I call our attacking players heroes, because they play every minute and they arrive in dangerous positions. We didn’t score as much as we could, but we were defensively compact, good balance in midfield. I am so sad for the fans because they were fantastic in their support for the team. I’m just sorry.”
Leicester do make the last eight of the competition, however, after former Porto full-back Ricardo’s late strike sent them through. The match between Leicester and second-tier Birmingham appeared to be edging towards extra time when Ricardo nodded home Mark Albrighton’s cross on 82 minutes to set up a last-eight tie at home against Chelsea.
The goal was Ricardo’s fourth of the season, which represents the highest total of his career so far. The 26-year-old is building on a debut season in England which saw him win the Leicester City fans Player of the Year as well as the Players’ Player of the Year for the 2018-19 campaign.
By Sean Gillen