Moura heads Tottenham into cup quarter-finals

Substitute Moura scores only goal as Spurs beat Burnley 1-0 to book their place in the last eight of the Carabao Cup. Draw is Saturday at 10.30am

Thursday, 28th October 2021 — By Dan Carrier

Spurs White Hart Lane Tottenham wall badge_0_0_0_5_1_5

Carabao Cup: Fourth Round

SPURS 1 (Moura, 68)

TOTTENHAM wobbled into the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup tonight (Wednesday) after a downbeat victory against Burnley at Turf Moor.

It took a second half goal from Lucas Moura to seal the win in a game that was a far cry from a vintage cup performance.

And this was a game that Nuno Espirito Santo could hardly afford to lose, such is the negativity surrounding a stuttering campaign.

While Spurs had all the play and created the only chances in the first half, this was still a strangely tepid display – one that merely underlines the scale of the challenge facing the club in their bid to become genuine Champions League quality once again.

Before a ball was kicked, a sense of turmoil that is never far away from Tottenham set the tone with the exclusion of Dele Alli and Harry Winks from the squad, and what that means for their futures at the club.

More immediately, it meant Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was not going to be given a deserved night off.

Harry Kane was also asked to lace his boots up in a match that if Spurs genuinely had strength-in-depth he surely shouldn’t be expected to turn up for.

Kane was the recipient of the best chances in the opening 45 minutes, but the striker, whose season has yet to really spark, scuffed two efforts an in-form and confident version of the England captain would have buried.

Instead, Moura – who came on after 25 minutes for the injured Bryan Gil – scored the winner on 68.

Nuno, who has watched the vultures circle just three months after his appointment following four London derby defeats and a lack of direction, must have feared the worst after a dull first half where his charges looked like they were going through the motions with little interest in killing the tie.

But whatever the under pressure boss said at half time, his players responded with a brighter and more inventive second half.

Giovani Lo Celso almost broke the deadlock when he got through Burnley’s defence only to see keeper Nick Pope pull off a great save, while Moura and Kane also threatened.

Then, after Nuno had taken off the perpetually disappointing Steven Bergwijn – who has scored just one goal in over a year – and Oliver Skipp on 68 minutes for Tanguy Ndombele and Heung-Min Son, the vital opener came.

A clever move involving Kane and Lo Celso found full-back Emerson Royal out wide. His deep cross was met by Moura, whose thumped header bounced off the turf and past the despairing Pope.

It was deserved, which says more about Burnley’s failings than Tottenham’s performance – and seals a place in Saturday’s quarter-final draw.

Yet this barely papers over the cracks at Spurs: for long periods they seemed incapable of making their individual qualities fuse as a team.

It is also worrying that two senior first-teamers in Alli and Winks are at such a cross roads in their Tottenham careers that they were left at home.

It is clear Nuno is struggling to get a tune out of them – and it underlines the threadbare state of a squad hoping to compete on four fronts.

Burnley: Pope, Roberts, Collins, Mee, Pieters, Gudmundsson (Lennon, 75), Brownhill, Cork, McNeil (Cornet, 75), Rodriguez (Barnes, 60), Vydra (Wood, 60)
Substitutes not used: Norris, Bardsley, Taylor, Long, Westwood, Cornet

Tottenham: Gollini, Royal, Sanchez, Romero, Davies, Lo Celso (Rodon, 88), Skipp (Ndombele, 66), Hojbjerg, Bergwijn (Son, 66), Gil (Moura, 25), Kane
Substitutes not used: Austin, Dier, Doherty, Reguilon, Tanganga

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