Saints Leave to Late to Earn Replay Against Spurs

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A late strike from Sofiane Boufal gave Southampton a deserved FA Cup fourth-round replay against Tottenham, following an entertaining encounter at St Mary’s.

Ralph Hasenhuttl named a strong side for the fourth-round tie despite making four changes to the team that had comfortably beaten Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park midweek. Angus Gunn held his place as the starting cup goalkeeper, whilst the injured defensive duo of Cedric and Jannik Vestergaard were replaced by Kevin Danso and Jan Bednarek. Saints top scorer Danny Ings was restored the starting lineup after being rested on Tuesday, with Shane Long missing out due to a knee injury.

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Tottenham – hoping to avenge their 1-0 defeat at St Mary’s on New Year’s Day – started on the front foot and created a golden opportunity to take the lead after just 9 minutes. Deli Alli did well to turn and set up Heung-Min Son by the left corner of the box, but the South Korean subsequently dragged his shot just wide of the post.

The home side responded with their own spell of pressure as quick feet from Nathan Redmond in the penalty area allowed Danso to strike at goal, with his strike being blocked for a corner. This resulted in Bednarek trying his luck from long-range but once again his shot was deflected wide.

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Giovani Lo Celso thought he had opened the scoring after 29 minutes when he side-footed in Deli Alli’s backheel, but his goal was eventually ruled out after a VAR check deemed the ball to have taken a deflection from the offside Son. This opened the door to more Tottenham chances as Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg threw himself in front of an Alli strike before the outstretched leg of Gunn denied a low Lucas Moura shot, after Winks and Alli combined on the counter.

Having survived this spell of dominance, Southampton created their best chance of the half on 35 minutes following a deep free-kick from James Ward-Prowse. His delivery was smartly whipped into the near post, catching out the Tottenham defenders but not the arched run of Ings. He brilliantly chested the ball down, beating the advanced Hugo Lloris, but the resulting volley was headed off the line by a flying Japhet Tanganga.

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The second half continued to compensate a lack of goals with exciting end-to-end football. Moments after the restart, Hasenhuttl’s side came close to breaking the deadlock when Michael Obafemi fired a low ball across goal but Ings was unable to guide the ball into the net. It opened up for Ings once again as Hojbjerg’s volley fell invitingly in the box, but the striker was unable to provide the all-important touch.

Despite their bright start to the half, the Saints found themselves behind just before the hour as Son scored his sixth league goal of the season. The move started in their own half as Lo Celso won possession and went on a powerful run, beating four men, before playing in Lamela through the middle. Lamela picked out Son on the left-hand side, who made no mistake in drilling a low shot past Gunn into the bottom right corner.

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As Southampton pushed for an equaliser, Sofiane Boufal and Che Adams were introduced in place of Danso and Obafemi as Hasenhuttl switched to three at the back. The home side continued to commit bodies forward and were eventually rewarded for their efforts as Ings turned provider, his pull-back with three minutes remaining was perfect in setting up Boufal who emphatically launched the ball into the back of the net.

Lo Celso hit a free kick over the bar in the closing stages, but a winning goal proved insurmountable, meaning a replay in North London will decide which Premier League side will advance to the fifth round.

Southampton return to league duty on February 1 as they travel to Anfield to face runaway leaders Liverpool.

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