Tottenham was held to a 0-0 tie at third-tier club Stevenage in the fifth round of soccer’s F.A. Cup yesterday, while Liverpool beat Brighton 6-1 to reach the quarterfinals.
Tottenham, third in the elite Premier League, was unable to breach the defense of its League One opponent, now the lowest-ranked team remaining in the competition. The winner of the replay will host Bolton in the next round.
“I’ve been around long enough to know what to expect, I have managed teams in the lower divisions and seen Premier League teams knocked out,” Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp told ITV. “Stevenage are a difficult team to play and worked their socks off.”
Liverpool had no such problems against Brighton of the second-tier Championship. There were three own goals and efforts from Martin Skrtel, Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez. Stoke, which played most of its match with 10 men after Rory Delap was red-carded, beat Crawley Town 2-0 in yesterday’s other game and will play the Reds in the quarterfinals.
“It’s important to win first of all, then to win comfortably,” Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard told ESPN.
Tottenham faced early pressure from the home team at Lamex Stadium and Stevenage appealed for a penalty kick when the ball appeared to strike the hand of Michael Dawson.
Jermain Defoe stabbed the ball wide for Tottenham in a rare first-half opportunity for the visitors on a bumpy field. Louis Saha fired over the bar later in the half and Younes Kaboul struck a free kick just wide.
Stevenage had one of the best opportunities before the interval, forcing Carlo Cudicini to tip over a Scott Laird header from a Luke Freeman free kick.
Stevenage goalkeeper Chris Day, who started his career at Spurs, turned a long-range effort from Gareth Bale behind for a corner early in the second half as Tottenham started to apply more pressure. Saha then had a goal ruled out for offside.
“We’re still in the cup and are at home now,” Redknapp said. “It gives us a big chance but I wouldn’t underestimate them.”
At Anfield, seven-time champion Liverpool overcame Brighton to advance to the last eight. Liverpool remains in contention for both domestic cup competitions, with the Reds set to play Cardiff City in the Carling Cup final at Wembley in London on Feb. 26.
Center-back Skrtel put the hosts ahead after five minutes with a header from a Gerrard corner.
Brighton responded from a 17th-minute free kick. The ball was rolled to Kazenga LuaLua and he struck a low 30-yard (27 meter) shot into the bottom corner of the net.
The Reds were ahead just before halftime when an attempted clearance from Brighton’s Sam Vokes hit his teammate Liam Bridcutt and went into the net.
Carroll hit his sixth goal of the season to increase Liverpool’s advantage, before further own goals from Bridcutt and Lewis Dunk.
“We’ve got a massive game next week at Wembley,” Gerrard said. “It’s important to try and get there in the F.A. Cup too.”
Suarez scored four minutes after having a penalty saved after 81 minutes.
Jonathan Walters, with a penalty kick, and Peter Crouch scored for last season’s runner-up Stoke at Crawley of League Two. Delap was red-carded after 17 minutes.
Two days ago, Sunderland beat Arsenal 2-0, Chelsea was held to a 1-1 draw by Birmingham, while Everton defeated Blackpool 2-0. Bolton beat Millwall 2-0, and Leicester won 2-1 at Norwich.
Liverpool vs Stoke City Chelsea or Birmingham vs Leicester City Stevenage or Tottenham vs Bolton Everton vs Sunderland Matches to be played weekend of March 17/18