Tottenham advance in FA Cup in potential Eriksen farewell
If this was to be Christian Eriksen’s last match as a Tottenham player, he went out with a victory. The Denmark midfielder played the full 90 minutes as Tottenham held off a late fightback from second-tier Middlesbrough to win 2-1 in their FA Cup replay and advance to the fourth round on Tuesday.
After the final whistle, Eriksen handed his jersey to a fan in the crowd at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, potentially a sign that he might have got his wish to leave the club where he has since 2013.
His contract expires at the end of the season and he has linked with a move to Italian team Inter Milan, with his displays for Spurs this season dipping way below his usual standards. Eriksen said as long ago as the off season that he might fancy a new challenge in his career after six seasons at the London club.
Jose Mourinho’s best chance of a trophy in his first season as Tottenham manager lies with the FA Cup, and the team’s road to Wembley Stadium hasn’t started smoothly.
A 1-1 draw at Middlesbrough brought the teams back to London for a replay, which Tottenham started well and took a two-goal lead after 15 minutes through Giovani Lo Celso and Erik Lamela.
Middlesbrough, managed by former England and Real Madrid defender Jonathan Woodgate, battled back in the second half and ensured a nervy end to the game for Mourinho when Tottenham goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga failed to keep out George Saville’s 83rd-minute strike from the edge of the area.
“I told my players at half-time if we don’t score (to make it) 3-0 then if (it is) 2-1, we would be in trouble and it happened,” Mourinho said. “We knew the opponents were hard.”
Newcastle have a great chance to go beyond the fourth round for the first time since 2006 after easing past Rochdale 4-1 to set up a match with another third-tier team, Oxford.
Paraguay playmaker Miguel Almiron, with his fourth goal in seven games, completed a flurry of early goals by pouncing on a goalkeeping error to make it 3-0 after 26 minutes. Joelinton added a fourth in the 82nd minute, for the Brazilian striker’s first goal since August and only second since his off season move from Hoffenheim in Germany.