Tottenham make easy work of Millwall as Son Heung-min silences racial abuse with hat-trick to reach FA Cup semis

A section of Millwall fans taunted Son about South Koreans selling DVDs, but he responded emphatically to knock the League One side out of the FA Cup

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Values and philosophies are important in football, especially in the FA Cup, but this was a firm reminder that sometimes individual quality can make all the difference. Millwall worked heroically hard here at White Hart Lane this afternoon, aiming for their fourth Premier League scalp of a remarkable cup run. But they ended up being steamrollered and, eventually, embarrassed by Spurs, losing 6-0.

It was a fair reflection of the difference in skill between the two sides, but not of their efforts. This is what happens when the second-best team in the country comes up against the sixth-placed team in League One.

This match was ultimately decided by Heung-Min Son, Spurs’ striker who is not even first choice here. He scored a hat-trick, starting with two brilliantly precise finishes, one with each foot, either side of half-time. Son is a £22million player and that, in short, is the difference between the two teams. That is why Spurs will be going back to Wembley for the semi-finals next month while Millwall fight to get back into the Championship.

As hard as Millwall worked, Spurs were running through them by the end, scoring their last three goals in the last 18 minutes. Even Vincent Janssen, on as a second-half substitute, scored in open play for the first time since his £17million move to Spurs last summer.

Son and Janssen have been squad players this season but they could be crucially important over the final stretch of the season. Because the one bad point of this otherwise perfect afternoon was Harry Kane being forced off after just seven minutes, after painfully turning his right ankle under an early tackle from Jake Cooper. If it is as bad as the ankle sprain he suffered in September, as Pochettino fears, he will barely play again for Spurs this season.

Millwall came to White Hart Lane to fight for every 50-50, as Kane found to his cost. He was shooting from a tight ankle when Jake Cooper jumped in to block him. As Kane landed, Cooper’s challenge turned Kane’s right ankle and he immediately knew he had to limp off. 

Despite that disruption, Spurs dominated possession, as they were always going to. They peppered the goal of Tom King, Millwall’s stand-in keeper, sensing him to be vulnerable and poor with his hands.  He spilled two shots from Harry Winks and it took some desperate defending to stop him from getting exposed for so long.

Millwall even had a half-chance to take what would have been a very unlikely lead. Lee Gregory received a long-ball and held off Eric Dier, laying the ball back to Morison. He spied an angle towards the top corner but curled a difficult finish wide.

But when Spurs took the lead, to Millwall’s frustration, it was gifted to them by the most avoidable error. Byron Webster and Jake Cooper jumped for the same ball and collided. Dele Alli took the ball down and it fell to Eriksen, on as a substitute for Kane, to put it in on the turn.

It was one of those moments that underlined that, for all Harris’ brilliant work, there was an obvious gulf in quality between the two sets of players, one that no amount of motivation or organisation could bridge.

That was glaringly true with Heung-Min Son’s first two goals, scored either side of half-time, ending the game as a contest. Son’s first came five minutes before the interval, as Alli and Dier broke forward and passed to Son on the right. His first touch was poor but he shuffled back inside and curled the ball with his left foot into the far top corner of the net.

son-heung-min2.jpg

Son fires home his second goal for Spurs (Getty)

It was one of those moments that underlined that, for all Harris’ brilliant work, there was an obvious gulf in quality between the two sets of players, one that no amount of motivation or organisation could bridge.

That was glaringly true with both of Son’s first two goals, scored either side of half-time, ending the game as a contest. Son’s first came five minutes before the interval, as Alli and Dier broke forward and passed to Son on the right. His first touch was poor but he shuffled back inside and curled the ball with his left foot into the far top corner of the net.

dele-alli.jpg

Dele Alli scores Tottenham's fourth goal (Getty)

It was a brilliant goal but his second, 10 minutes after the re-start, was even better. Kieran Trippier chipped a hopeful long ball over the top of Cooper. Son ran onto it, watched the ball over his shoulder and volleyed it, this time with his right, into the net. After being taunted by Millwall fans about South Koreans selling DVDs, it was a perfectly dismissive response.

At 3-0 Millwall’s resistance was over and Spurs could easily run through them. Dele Alli scored the fourth, putting Eriksen’s pass in at the far post after he was released by Kieran Trippier, an intricate incisive move.

vincent-janssen.jpg
Vincent Janssen's teammates rush to celebrate with him after scoring his first goal for Spurs from open play (Getty)

The biggest surprise was yet to come, though, when Janssen, on as a substitute, found the bottom corner of the net from Son’s pass, for an open-play goal that many thought would never come. 

Millwall had nothing left to give and Son completed his hat-trick with the last kick of the game, with a goal that left an embarrassing tinge on an otherwise hard-fought contest. Millwall keeper King was struggling and when Son swept the ball towards him it should have been a simple save, but he let the ball straight through his hands. It was a fairly brutal reminder that not all gulfs can be bridged.

Comments