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Fulham 0-3 Tottenham FAC 05 1617 - Daily Mail

last updated Monday 20th February 2017, 10:16 AM


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Matt Barlow at Daily Mail


Fulham (0) 0-3 (1) Tottenham Hotspur


Singing about Wembley does not have the same ring when you're in the business of hiring the place out, but Tottenham swaggered like a team in the mood for a little FA Cup glory and their supporters responded.

This is what the competition can do when you take it seriously. Mauricio Pochettino selected a very strong side and they came out with enough desire to quickly dampen the enthusiasm of a full house at Craven Cottage.

Spurs were fluent and bubbling with energy. They simply outclassed Fulham, scored early, kept the pressure on and killed the game in the second half. 

Harry Kane, having picked up a knock in Belgium on Thursday, might easily have been rested but instead captained the team in the absence of Hugo Lloris and scored all three, his fifth Tottenham hat-trick which took his haul for the season to 19.

Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli were quick and creative and Jan Vertonghen played 90 minutes as he returned from a month out with an ankle injury.

Beyond the individual benefits, Spurs cleansed from their system back-to-back defeats and a nagging spell of scratchy form, which included a lucky escape in the FA Cup against Wycombe.

It was only the third win in 15 away matches for Tottenham but in this sort of touch they can proceed with confidence down Wembley Way as they bid to overturn a one-goal deficit in the Europa League against Gent. 

They might even consider their chances of a first major trophy since 2008. It is nine years this week since they last won the League Cup. They have won the FA Cup eight times but not since 1991.

Such a proud cup tradition should not be abandoned in the pursuit of a place in the top four and a return to the Champions League.

Tottenham's positive intentions shone from the outset. Less than five minutes had passed when Marcus Bettinelli made his first save to deny Eriksen.

Spurs pressed high and hustled Fulham, forcing mistakes in possession in dangerous areas of the pitch. Kieran Trippier and Eriksen combined well on the right, perhaps making sense of Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic's decision to pick Scott Malone ahead of 16-year-old sensation Ryan Sessegnon at left back.

With little protection from Floyd Ayite in midfield, Malone struggled to contain the threat despite his extra experience and it was little surprise when Spurs made their breakthrough from a move down their right flank.

Trippier took a quick throw over Malone and sent Eriksen scurrying down the wing before he clipped a neat ball square to Kane, who slid at full stretch and converted with his left foot. 

The visitors might have sewn it up sooner. Alli was clean through seconds later but did not connect well and was denied by Bettinelli.

Fulham's only real opportunities came when Tottenham lost their focus. Goalkeeper Michel Vorm offered Tom Cairney a glimpse of a chance with a feeble clearance in the first half but recovered to make a save.

Vertonghen then got into a needless tangle under a high ball with half-time approaching. Sone Aluko pounced and Stefan Johansen lashed a volley wide. Fulham stirred, roused by this reminder they were only a goal adrift.

After the break, Kevin McDonald went close, heading over from a corner, although by this point they were two down. 

Trippier and Eriksen combined again on the right and Kane escaped Tim Ream in the centre to score his second.

There was the merest hint of offside. Kane's head and a shoulder had gone early, according to the replays, but the goal stood and so it should, with the benefit of any doubt given to the attacking team in these circumstances.

As for Kane, his movement is quite exceptional. He is always searching for space and trying to operate in the blind spots of his markers. He missed one chance to complete his hat-trick, narrowly too high with a lob over Bettinelli, but soon had his claim to the match-ball.

This time Alli delivered the final pass as Kane eased into the inside-right channel and swept a firm finish past the goalkeeper.

His work done, he came off and watched the last 15 minutes from the bench. This is the place for an FA Cup breather if you go about it properly.

Others may wish to take note. Spurs are on their way to Wembley. Against Gent in the Europa League on Thursday. Maybe they'll get there in the FA Cup, too. 























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