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Rochdale forces replay with Spurs

Published:Sunday | February 18, 2018 | 12:00 AM

ROCHDALE, England (AP):

What a difference a few days can make in football.

After coming from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Juventus midweek in the UEFA Champions League last 16, Tottenham made 11 changes to its team yesterday and were held to a 2-2 draw at battling English third-tier team Rochdale in the fifth round of the English FA Cup.

Rochdale had decided to dig up and relay the bumpy, almost grassless pitch that was used in the previous round against Millwall - and the reason became clear early on against Tottenham.

Not for this team is the typical third-tier fare of long-ball football. Keith Hill's Rochdale stroked the ball around to excellent effect to nullify the gulf in class between the sides and secure a lucrative replay later this month at Spurs' temporary Wembley home.

It was no more than Rochdale deserved when Ian Henderson capped a sweeping move on the stroke of halftime with a low shot from 12 yards to score his sixth goal in as many FA Cup matches this season.

Tottenham, which left the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli, and Christian Eriksen out of its starting line-up, stepped up a gear in the second half, and Lucas Moura, signed from Paris Saint Germain in the midwinter transfer window, equalised in the 59th minute.

Moura, making his first start for Tottenham, lifted the ball over goalkeeper Josh Lillis after a clever series of passes from the visiting team.

Manager Mauricio Pochettino then sent on Kane and Alli for the closing stages, and the England pair combined to put their team in front with three minutes to go.




Alli was sent flying by a challenge from Harrison McGahey, and Kane stepped up to rifle Tottenham in front from the penalty spot.

Then, just as Rochdale's dreams of a trip to Wembley seemed to have died, substitute Steve Davies pounced on a left-wing cross and drove in a stoppage-time shot to the delight of the Spotland crowd.

On Saturday, Manchester United beat Huddersfield 2-0 and Brighton knocked out Coventry 3-1. Southampton defeated West Bromwich Albion 2-1, while second-tier Sheffield Wednesday drew 0-0 with Swansea.

On Friday, Chelsea crushed Hull 4-0 and Leicester beat Sheffield United 1-0.

The last match of the fifth round takes place today when English Premier League leaders Manchester City take on third-tier Wigan in a repeat of the 2013 final.