Penalty agony for Spurs and Ange Postecoglou as Fulham progress in Carabao Cup

By Sports Desk August 29, 2023

Tottenham suffered their first on-pitch setback of the Ange Postecoglou era after they exited the Carabao Cup in the second round at Fulham after Davinson Sanchez crucially had an effort saved in a 5-3 defeat on penalties.

Richarlison had opened his account for the season to cancel out a 19th-minute own-goal from Micky van de Ven, which had given the hosts a deserved half-time advantage despite being without boss Marco Silva, who was serving a touchline ban.

No further goals were forthcoming and the 1-1 scoreline at 90 minutes meant spot-kicks were required and after five successful penalties a low effort from Sanchez which was saved by Marek Rodak proved the difference.

Kenny Tete fired Fulham’s fifth penalty past Fraser Forster to book their place in the third round and leave Tottenham with only one realistic option of trying to end their trophy drought, which stretches back to 2008.

Both of these Premier League teams had exited this competition at the first opportunity last season, but 15 changes were made overall with Spurs making nine after entering at the second round stage for the first time since 2009.

Fulham went with largely their first-choice back four and left-back Antonee Robinson created the opening opportunity when he burst past Sanchez and crossed to the back post, but Rodrigo Muniz headed wide.

It was a sign of things to come from Sanchez, who had been expected to leave this summer but instead has moved up the defensive pecking order ahead of Eric Dier under Postecoglou.

Sanchez continued to be troubled and was at fault for the opener in the 19th minute.

Tom Cairney turned Sanchez inside out on the edge of the penalty area and his floated cross was deflected beyond Forster by Spurs’ centre-back Van de Ven.

Postecoglou had brought a feelgood factor back to Tottenham after a difficult first half of 2023, but the away fans at Craven Cottage turned their frustration to chairman Daniel Levy with chants calling for him to leave the club.

Forster had to be alert soon after to deny Muniz’s snapshot before Spurs did finally threaten but Richarlison’s effort was blocked by Tim Ream and Ivan Perisic had a free-kick deflected wide.

The lively Muniz went close again on the stroke of half-time with a header from Adama Traore’s cross, but Forster saved well to keep it 1-0.

Spurs boss Postecoglou had still seen enough and teenage forward Dane Scarlett was introduced for Giovani Lo Celso.

It had an immediate impact with Richarlison forcing Marek Rodak to tip over his deflected shot before Scarlett’s presence created a chance for Manchester United-linked Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, who side-footed wide from 10 yards.

The leveller did arrive with 56 minutes played and it was a moment to savour for Richarlison, who stooped low at the back post to head in Perisic’s cross for only his fourth goal for Tottenham since a £60million move last summer.

Fulham were unhappy that Perisic was able to make the most of the hosts’ absent right-back Tete, who had to leave the pitch to get a new boot after a fine tackle on Scarlett moments earlier.

The hosts improved after conceding with Bobby Decordova-Reid slicing wide from inside the area and substitute Harry Wilson had an effort blocked by Sanchez.

Dejan Kulusevski and Son Heung-min were on by this point and Manor Solomon nearly won it for Spurs with a curled effort but Rodak saved, before Forster denied Wilson with his legs to ensure penalties were required.

Fulham were picture perfect from 12 yards with Andreas Pereira, Raul Jimenez, Wilson, Joao Palhinha and Tete all able to score while Sanchez’s tame effort ensured Tottenham exited in the second round for the first time since 2005.

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