Stoke hold nerve to atone for Crouch's bad miss

Stoke City 0 Tottenham Hotspur 0 (aet; Stoke win 7-6 on penalties)
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The Independent Online

Youngster Massimo Luongo missed the vital penalty as Tottenham were eliminated from the Carling Cup after a drab tie ended in high drama here last night. Stoke progressed to the fourth round following a gripping shoot-out win after the previous 120 minutes had failed to produce a goal.

"We didn't want to go out," said the Tottenham manager, Harry Redknapp. "If I had wanted to lose then I would have fielded my youth team. We wanted to get to Wembley. With penalties it's always going to be a lottery."

It was inevitable that Peter Crouch would play a key role against his former club. Stoke's £10 million record signing started on the substitutes' bench but found himself on the pitch within 12 minutes after Kenwyne Jones suffered a hamstring injury.

Having been allowed to leave Tottenham last month after failing to cement a place in Redknapp's plans, Crouch hardly covered himself in glory as he missed a glorious chance in the early stages of extra time. But the England forward redeemed himself as he scored in the shoot-out.

"Had we been beaten after extra time and penalties then it would have been a massive downer for us," said the Stoke manager, Tony Pulis. "Hopefully this result will give us a lift again."

It was perhaps no surprise that Stoke and Tottenham, two teams who have spent the early weeks of the season traipsing round the continent in the Europa League, needed extra time to decide who would go through. With both teams in action as recently as Sunday, Redknapp and Pulis made a total 17 changes. Yet the tie desperately lacked entertainment until the drama at the end.

In total, Redknapp made a total of nine changes from the side that overwhelmed Liverpool 4-0, while Stoke's Cameron Jerome and Robert Huth were starting their third game inside a week.

Stoke's Thomas Sorensen was forced into a save on the stroke of half time and as the game went on Tottenham started to impose their authority. The second half was just four minutes old when Jake Livermore went close with a curling effort from the edge of the area before Roman Pavlyuchenko forced Sorensen into a fine stop with a fiercely struck drive moments later.

Rafael van der Vaart went close from a free-kick on the edge of the area after Sandro had been fouled by Huth. and with the visitors creating the better chances, Redknapp sent on Jermain Defoe in an attempt to avoid extra time. It was to no avail.

Stoke City (4-4-2): Sorensen; Shotton, Huth, Upson, Wilson; Pennant, Palacios (Diao, 66), Whelan, Etherington; Jones (Crouch, 12), Jerome (Walters, 74). Substitutes not used Nash (gk), Pugh, Delap, Wilkinson.

Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Gomes; Corluka, Kaboul, Bassong, Assou-Ekotto; Carroll, Livermore, Sandro (Luongo, 71), Giovani (Townsend, 96); Van der Vaart (Defoe, 63), Pavlyuchenko. Substitutes not used Cudicini (gk), Falque, Kane, Caballos.

Referee L Probert (Wiltshire).

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