Slick Spurs pummel Posh in FA Cup
There is far too much FA Cup tradition at White Hart Lane for anyone to take the old competition anything but seriously. And Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp got the club's 2010 challenge rolling when he sent out his strongest possible side to steamroller Championship strugglers Peterborough. Two goals from Kranjcar, the inevitable strike from Jermain Defoe and a late, late penalty from Robbie Keane were the vital statistics in a one-sided cup tie. But it was the businesslike way Spurs went about their work which suggested that a ninth FA cup triumph is in their sights this season, even if they do also have the little matter of trying to finish in the top four in the Premier League. They say sport is all about what is in the mind and the man in charge of the White Hart Lane big screen did his bit for the cause when he played the video of Tottenham's recent 9-1 victory against Wigan as the Peterborough players ran out for their warm-up. Psychological blows do not come much heavier than that. The big question was which Peterborough would turn up - the one which went 4-0 down at home to Cardiff in the first half last weekend or the one which produced one of the comebacks of the season to draw 4-4 in the second? The answer was a bit of both. Mark Cooper's side scrapped and fought and matched Tottenham for sheer industry. But where quality was concerned the gulf was as wide as the Seven Sisters Road. Tottenham were all over their opponents from the first whistle. Defoe might have put them two up in the first 10 minutes, just failing to connect from close range and then somehow managing to volley over from little more than a yard after Luka Modric's shot had ballooned off a defender. That first half was little more than one-way traffic, Tottenham out-passing and out-thinking their opponents. If it had not been for Peterborough goalkeeper Joe Lewis then the match would have been over well before the interval. He got down smartly to smother a Tom Huddlestone free-kick but the pick of a bunch of saves was an instinctive fingertip effort which saw him deflect a ferocious Kranjcar right-footer onto the crossbar. The breakthrough, however, had to come and when it did it owed everything to the inventive Croatian midfield connection. Modric is easing his way back after recovering from his broken leg earlier this season and his quality could be crucial in Tottenham's bid to break into the Premier League top four. It was his tidy work and precision pass which found Kranjcar out on the left. Kranjcar, a £2.5million bargain from Portsmouth in the summer, simply smashed a right-footed shot past Lewis. It meant Peterborough had to come out and play - a dangerous ploy for any side at White Hart Lane these days. And Tottenham exploited the extra space after 56 minutes when the lively Keane found Gareth Bale, whose cross from the left was prodded home from close range by Kranjcar. Not that Peterborough folded. Indeed, they would have reduced the arrears after 65 minutes but for a spectacular flying save by goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes, who tipped a savage shot from striker Craig Mackail-Smith over the crossbar. After 69 minutes, however, Spurs increased their lead. Again it was set up by Bale, but this time it was Defoe who got on the end of his cross to fire the third. It prompted something of an unusual occurrence at White Hart Lane these days - a sighting of Russia striker Roman Pavlyuchenko, who has spent most of the season on the substitutes' bench but who came on to replace Defoe. He might have scored, too, but had the ball stabbed off his toe at the crucial moment. The Spurs rout was completed in stoppage time when Keane slotted home a penalty after substitute Danny Rose had been brought down by Chris Whelpdale.
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