Spurs scrape through
LONDON – Liverpool sank deeper into their mid-season rut when Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers claimed a deserved 2-1 FA Cup fourth-round victory at Anfield as the competition lived up to its reputation for shocks on Saturday.
Goals by Richard Stearman and Andreas Weimann proved enough for Wolves, 18th in the second tier, to inflict a third home defeat in a week on Juergen Klopp’s faltering side who managed only one win in eight matches in January.
Fourth-tier Wycombe Wanderers, 70 places below Tottenham in the English pyramid, were minutes away from trumping Wolves with a genuine giantkilling away win over Premier League title hopefuls Tottenham Hotspur but lost a thriller 4-3.
Two goals by Paul Hayes, one a penalty, gave Wycombe a 2-0 halftime lead at White Hart Lane and Garry Thompson sent the away fans crazy by restoring their lead seven minutes from time after Tottenham had fought back.
Tottenham were reduced to 10 men when Kieran Trippier limped off after the hosts had used all their substitutes but Dele Alli coolly equalized in the 89th minute before Son Heung-min struck seven minutes into stoppage time with his second goal of the game.
“This is the beauty of the FA Cup. It’s magic. This is completely different to Spain or France,” relieved Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino said after his side’s ninth consecutive home victory in all competitions.
Lincoln City, one of two survivors from outside the Football League, continued their dream run with a 3-1 home victory against Championship leaders Brighton & Hove Albion to reach the fifth round for the first time in the modern era.
They also got that far in 1887 when the competition involved far fewer clubs at the outset.
Rafael Benitez’s Newcastle United, Brighton’s close rivals for promotion to the top flight, also slipped up to lower-level opponents, outplayed 3-0 at League One’s Oxford United.
Arsenal made light of a touchline ban for manager Arsene Wenger as Theo Walcott scored a hat-trick and Danny Welbeck struck twice in a 5-0 hammering of League Cup finalists Southampton at St Mary’s while in the day’s other all-Premier League duel Manchester City outclassed Crystal Palace 3-0 at Selhurst Park.
Premier League leaders Chelsea breezed past second-tier Brentford 4-0, Middlesbrough beat Accrington Stanley 1-0 and Burnley saw off Bristol City 2-0.
Blackburn Rovers won a north-west derby 2-0 against Blackpool in a game memorable for protests against their clubs’ respective owners by both sets of fans. Huddersfield reached the fifth round with a 4-0 thrashing of Rochdale.
Liverpool, already reeling from last weekend’s home defeat by Swansea City which left them 10 points adrift in the Premier League title race and Wednesday’s League Cup semi-final defeat by Southampton, made a dreadful start on Saturday.
Wolves were ahead after 53 seconds as an unmarked Stearman headed in Helder Costa’s free kick and Weimann made it 2-0 five minutes before halftime after more good work by Costa.
Divock Origi scored late on but it was too little too late.
“I could look for excuses but I don’t want to, maybe we should use this time to be disappointed, to be frustrated, to be angry at ourselves,” Klopp said. “All I can say. Sorry.”
National League leaders Lincoln, who knocked out Championship side Ipswich Town in round three, sent the Sincil Bank crowd crazy as they outplayed a below-strength Brighton side.
Richie Towell gave Brighton, 72 places higher than Lincoln, the lead but the hosts equalised through Alan Power’s penalty and took the lead when Fikayo Tomori scored an own goal. Theo Robinson rounded off the win.
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte made nine changes but his side were cruising after 21 minutes with goals from Pedro and Willian. Branislav Ivanovic and Michy Batshuayi also scored.
Holders Manchester United play Wigan Athletic on Sunday.
(Editing by Pritha Sarkar and Clare Fallon)
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.