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Tottenham Hotspur made life hard on themselves, with a bit of help from EFL Championship side Wycombe Wanderers, but Jose Mourinho’s men eventually took care of business to secure a less-than-comfortable 4-1 victory in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Monday.
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Gareth Bale was handed a rare start — his first since Dec. 23, with just 26 minutes played in one appearance in 33 days since then — and the Welshman was covered in a thick coat of rust early on. Lucas Moura sent a corner kick to the back post, where Bale was waiting for a free, unmarked header in the 4th minute. With no pressure or need to rush, Bale, a player who has proven himself a highly capable aerial finisher, inexplicably headed the ball well wide from six yards out.
Wycombe’s opener could hardly be described as champagne football, but credit to the Championship’s last-place team for making the most of what Tottenham gave them. Davinson Sanchez made an almighty mess of a seemingly harmless cross, as he failed to clear the ball and kindly settled it into the path of Fred Onyedinma.
Nine minutes later, Tottenham were befuddled by the manner in which they were denied an equalizer. Bale broke down the right flank and played the ball across to Moussa Sissoko, who fired from the edge of the box and looked to benefit from a massive deflection. The ball appeared destined for the inside of the far post with goalkeeper Ryan Allsop completely helpless as he watched the ball bound over his head. The ball, however, never stopped rising, struck the crossbar and fell right into Allsop’s hands.
Japhet Tanganga headed the ball onto the cross bar from four yards out in the 45th minute, once again letting Wycombe off the hook through no doing of their own.
Eventually, finally, at long last, in the second minute of first-half stoppage time, Spurs managed to finish one of their handful of chances inside the six-yard box. It was Moura who played a tantalizing bouncing ball into the box, and Bale arrived just in the nick of time as he applied the deftest of touches to lift the ball over Allsop for 1-1.
Jose Mourinho was forced to call upon Harry Kane, Son Heung-min, Tanguy Ndombele Pierre-Emile Hojberg at various points in the second half, which resulted in Tottenham largely taking control of proceedings while still struggling to create the decisive scoring opportunity required. Kane went extraordinarily close after Ben Davies played a brilliant ball in behind the Wycombe defense, but Allsop rushed off his line to close down the angle and deny Kane.
Allsop once again denied Kane from a tight angle after Ndombele played another brilliant ball to the talisman in the 86th minute. This time, however, Tottenham retained possession and eventually got the ball to Harry Winks outside the box, and Winks looped a hot over a sea of bodies to make it 2-1.
Not even a minute later, Son carved through Wycombe’s defense and found Ndombele for a straightforward first-time finish into an open net.
Ndombele added his second — and fourth for Tottenham — with a sensational bit of movement, dribbling and finishing three minutes into stoppage time.
FA Cup 4th round coverage
FA Cup: Spurs storm past Wycombe with late flurry of goals originally appeared on NBCSports.com