Pedro Porro’s 25-yard special helped Tottenham stumble into the FA Cup fourth round with a hard-fought 1-0 home win over Burnley.
Spurs were far from vintage and a replay at Turf Moor appeared on the cards until Ange Postecoglou watched full-back Porro make the breakthrough with a superb strike in the 78th minute.
It earned Tottenham a deserved fourth win from five matches, but Clarets boss Vincent Kompany could take positives after a solid display and they will now concentrate fully on staying in the Premier League.
Speaking afterwards, Postecoglou said on Porro’s goal: “We’re disappointed he hasn’t had a few more this season, he’s been a bit unlucky, hit the post a couple of times and he’s been outstanding all year, working on his defensive game.
“But we know as an attacking threat he’s also got those qualities and the way the game was going we were going to need something special from someone and he delivered.”
How Porro lit up dreary affair
Spurs had already beaten Burnley 5-2 this season, but they were missing their hat-trick hero from that September day with Heung-Min Son away for the Asian Cup and the visitors started brightly in north London.
Anass Zaroury blazed over early on before Wilson Odobert tested Tottenham goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario with a long-range effort.
Postecoglou had only made two changes for this third-round tie and arguably his strongest available team soon started to click into gear.
- Spurs named Micky van de Ven and Ryan Sessegnon on their bench. Ange Postecoglou named a strong side with Dejan Kulusevski, Richarlison and Brennan Johnson as a three-pronged attack. Eric Dier was not named in the squad amid interest from Bayern Munich.
- Dara O’Shea, Vitinho, Charlie Taylor, Lyle Foster, Wilson Odobert and Zeki Amdouni retained their places for Burnley following their 3-2 defeat at Aston Villa. In came Arijanet Muric, Hannes Delcroix, Josh Cullen, Aaron Ramsey and Anass Zaroury.
Richarlison scuffed wide after a slick move before Brennan Johnson’s curler forced Arijanet Muric into action.
The stadium was united in applause soon after when the clock struck 16 minutes as a tribute took place for Tottenham fan Harry Pitman, who was killed on New Year’s Eve.
Giovani Lo Celso hooked over at the end of a touching minute’s applause before VAR checked Rodrigo Bentancur’s tackle on Zaroury, but Spurs’ stand-in skipper avoided punishment.
Kompany’s side created their best chance with 27 minutes gone when Zaroury’s scooped pass put Zeki Amdouni through on goal but he fired over, and while the offside flag was raised, it would have counted.
Johnson did flash wide from a Porro centre before half-time, but a drab first 45 ended goalless in N17.
Tottenham were sent out early for the second half and it initially had the desired effect with Dejan Kulusevski driving over, while Lo Celso and Johnson tested Muric.
Spurs were still trying to walk the ball in, though, and groans were audible from the home fans when Kulusevski decided to pass instead of shoot from a promising position.
Lo Celso limped off moments later and Burnley also lost Charlie Taylor to a shoulder injury, which forced Kompany into a triple substitution with Nathan Redmond amongst those introduced.
Johnson had called Muric into action again by this point with a volley into the ground before the hosts had half-hearted penalty appeals waved away when the attacker went down after slight contact by Josh Brownhill.
A replay at Turf Moor seemed to loom large as the seconds ticked away, but Porro had other ideas.
Moments after Richarlison failed to get on the end of Kulusevski’s cross, Porro won back possession from Ameen Al-Dakhil and let fly from 25 yards, with his dipping effort nestling into the corner.
Tottenham substitute Ryan Sessegnon nearly put the game to bed in the 86th minute but Muric saved and Burnley’s goalkeeper almost set up a late leveller from a corner only for Amdouni to volley wide.
Postecoglou: We were a little bit wasteful
Spurs boss Ange Postecoglou told ITV:
“I think it’s a cup competition so whatever I say or whatever my analysis is, the bottom line is we’re though to the next round so that’s what you’ve got to take out of it because I think the cup games are a unique beast and we’re through to the next round so that’s the main thing.
“We were a little bit wasteful in the final third because we had most of the ball, most of the territory. As I said you analyse those things and give feedback to the players and it’s better to do that when you’re in the next round of the cup.”
Tottenham survive scare after Porro screamer
Former Tottenham defender Stephen Kelly on Sky Sports News:
“It was a screamer to win it from Porro. A goal worthy of winning any game. A wonderful strike from Porro, who did well to intercept the pass, drive forward and there was great dip on the ball to leave the goalkeeper with no chance.
“To be honest, the last few moments were a little bit scary for Tottenham. Delcroix and Amdouni had glorious chances in the last two minutes of the game. Tottenham rode their luck but deserved to win over the course of the game.
“It’s important for Postecoglou as he’s won trophies everywhere he’s been and he’d like to do that with Tottenham so this is an important win. Things could have been better in the final third but overall they were the better team so he’ll be happy with the performance.”
Tottenham’s next game is on Sunday January 14 when they travel to Manchester United in the Premier League, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 4.30pm. Spurs then host Brentford on Wednesday January 31; kick-off 7.30pm.
Burnley’s next outing is at home to Luton in the Premier League on Monday January 15; kick-off 7.45pm. The Clarets then play away to Manchester City on Wednesday January 31; kick-off 7.30pm.