Eriksen strikes late again to send Spurs to Wembley
Tottenham to face Chelsea in Capital One Cup after youngster Che Adams gives Lilywhites a fright
Sheffield United 2 Tottenham 2 (Tottenham win 3-2 on aggregate). Spurs are on their way to Wembley to face Chelsea in the final of the Capital One Cup, but the Premier League club were given the mother of all scares by League One side Sheffield United.
Spurs visited Bramall Lane defending a 1-0 advantage from the first leg of the semi-final, and when Christian Eriksen struck a magnificent curling free-kick on 28 minutes it seemed the Lilywhites were cruising towards an all-London final on 1 March. But that was before United introduced Che Adams as a substitute a quarter of an hour from full time as the snow fell on Sheffield. The 18-year-old, a recent signing from non-league side Ilkeston Town with less than three hours of professional football to his name, turned the tie on its head in the space of three minutes.
First he lashed home Ryan Flynn's pin-perfect cross on 77 minutes (his first senior goal) to level the scores on the night and then, just two minutes later, Adams showed similar composure to send a deflected shot past Michel Vorm in the visitors' goal.
Tottenham were stunned and the Blades surged forward in search of the third goal that would take them through to the final without the need for extra-time. But it was Spurs' own youngster, 21-year-old Harry Kane, who was instrumental in shattering Sheffield's hearts two minutes from time. His sweet through ball gave Eriksen the time and space to pick his spot and slide the ball past Mark Howard into the far corner of the United goal.
"I didn't think it was slipping away but I was thinking about extra time," said Eriksen, who has developed a habit this season of scoring crucial late goals. "After 88 minutes just give me the ball," he joked.
The result means Tottenham travel to Wembley for the first time since 2009 (when they lost the League Cup in a penalty shootout to Manchester United) and it will pit them against a club whom they thrashed 5-3 on New Year's Day. That victory was at White Hart Lane but Eriksen says they'll draw on that experience ahead of the final. "We have fond memories and confidence of playing Chelsea," he said. "We are not afraid. We will go there with no fear and it will be a good show."
"Pride" was the word chosen by Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino to describe his overriding emotion in seeing off Sheffield United, although he said the semi-final had been an education for his players. "We have a young team and they will learn from that experience," he told reporters. "In football, you need to kill and to score when you have the possibility because we created the chances. [So] the lesson for us is you need to kill the game."