Spurs pay the penalty for missed chances

<preform>Tottenham Hotspur 1 - Liverpool 1<br>aet: score at 90 minutes 0-0<br> Liverpool win 4-3 on pens</preform>
Click to follow
The Independent Football

After Neil Mellor on Sunday, another of Liverpool's less celebrated, reserve strikers, Florent Sinama-Pongolle, struck the crucial blow to ensure the Reds reached the semi-finals of the League Cup last night.

After Neil Mellor on Sunday, another of Liverpool's less celebrated, reserve strikers, Florent Sinama-Pongolle, struck the crucial blow to ensure the Reds reached the semi-finals of the League Cup last night.

After two hours of occasionally entertaining football and a penalty shoot-out that saw three missed, it fell to the young Frenchman to slot home from the spot low to Paul Robinson's left, with the England goalkeeper sent the wrong way.

It was not the result that the men from the capital deserved, however, as they dominated the match right through until the shoot-out. Then Frederic Kanouté saw his effort saved, Michael Brown's attempt went over the crossbar while the only Liverpool player to miss was Darren Potter.

Sinama-Pongolle stepped up for the visitors' last penalty, and having equalised from the spot near the end of extra-time, he kept his nerve a second time to set up a semi-final with Watford early next year.

As his manager Rafael Benitez said later: "This was important for Sinama-Pongolle because Mellor scored recently and now he has two important goals. Now I have more options in attack."

Having laboured through the game without actually beating Jerzy Dudek, who was in imperious form all evening long, what Spurs must have thought was the winner came with 12 minutes of extra-time remaining.

From wide on the right Michael Brown fed Kanoute and from his pass Jermain Defoe finally saw Dudek beaten from six yards out.

It was the least they deserved for taking the game to a largely junior Liverpool side but the visitors responded bravely and with four minutes remaining, Kanoute, on an interesting night for the Mali international, needlessly hand-balled and Sinama-Pongolle calmly converted the penalty.

Liverpool could have argued they should have been playing 10 men after 78 minutes when Anthony Gardner brought down Sinama-Pongolle 40 yards out with no one between him and Paul Robinson. However the referee Neale Barry erred on the side of leniency and only awarded a yellow card.

While Benitez picked several youngsters for this match, he has strength in the goalkeeping department and it showed as the Pole brought off save after save. The best was from Robbie Keane after 60 minutes when Reto Ziegler broke through the middle and found Kanoute. From his cross Keane was almost turning away in celebration only to see Dudek had palmed his shot over the crossbar.

That was the pattern of the evening and after drawing strength from that display, Sinama-Pongolle, at the other end, produced what he had to when it was most needed.

* The former Scotland and Tottenham goalkeeper Bill Brown has died at the age of 73. Brown moved to White Hart Lane from Dundee in 1959 and by 1966 had made 222 League appearances, 23 FA Cup appearances plus 17 in Europe for Tottenham. Brown was also part of the late Bill Nicholson's double-winning team in 1961. He won two FA Cups, a League championship and a European Cup Winners' Cup medal during Spurs' glory years. Brown won 28 caps for his country.

Tottenham (4-4-2): Robinson; Pamarot, King, Gardner, Atouba; Ricketts (Defoe, 66), Brown, Carrick, Ziegler; Keane (Mendes, 85), Kanouté. Substitutes not used: Fulop (gk), Naybet, Redknapp.

Liverpool ( 4-4-2): Dudek; Raven, Henchoz, Whitbread, Warnock; Nunez (Smyth, 70), Diao, Biscan, Potter; Sinama-Pongolle, Mellor (Welsh, 52). Substitutes not used: Kirkland (gk), Partridge, Foy.

Referee: N Barry (North Lincs).

Comments