The re-arranged match at White Hart Lane was billed as “emotional” by Bolton manager Owen Coyle, but credit to Spurs for their professionalism. Not just the players for having the determination to breach an excellent Adam Bogdan, but their supporters. It was traumatic to witness Fabrice Muamba’s collapse on television, let alone at the Lane, but any lingering emotion was snuffed out when the home supporters booed the visitors’ on-loan Arsenal man Ryo Miyaichi. Tottenham had to win last night and their followers were suitably partisan in getting behind their out-of-form side.
A MOURINHO CHELSEA?
Benfica played like the make-up-the-numbers last eight side many pinned them as, but Chelsea’s experience was keenly felt during their win at Estadio da Luz. Despite Roberto Di Matteo’s nationality, his career with Chelsea and positive philosophy at West Brom has rarely had him identified as a catenaccio purveyor, but it’s that blueprint – with a twist – he appears to have adopted for the Blues. Chelsea counter-attacked impressively in Lisbon and may feel disappointed they didn’t extend their one-goal lead, while Fernando Torres’ mobility finally came to the fore. Such defensive reticence isn’t certified with what is a flimsy rearguard, but Chelsea have kept four clean sheets from seven games under Di Matteo. He's doing a good impression of Jose Mourinho.
Gallery of Tuesday night's football:
Sunderland’s draw at Goodison Park in the FA Cup quarter-final was greeted with an excessive amount of glee by the travelling Mackems. As soon as the final shrill was blown, they mistook a replay for a win, and it was tellingly crucial how it appeared to transfer to the players too. Everton should have won at home, but their attitude throughout this tie was positively excellent. Their record at the Stadium of Light is terrific, but the knockback of not winning 10 days previously may have left mental scars. Not at all. Spearheaded by the adroit Nikica Jelevic, they thrived whereas their visitors froze, taken aback by David Moyes taking the game to them.
Jose Mourinho looked occasionally flustered as Real Madrid struggled to net a breakthrough against Apoel Nicosia. But, like a glassed bottle of ketchup, once the first dollop emerged, the goals flowed. Three of them in the last 16 minutes, to be precise – effectively killing the tie, - with Karim Benzema providing two of them. You only need watch the embedded video below to know why the Frenchman will be doubly pleased with his contribution.
Paolo Di Canio’s name emanated again from West Ham supporters last night, as they continue to air their disenchantment with Sam Allardyce’s style of play. Yet they won 2-0 at Peterborough and are in the Championship’s top three, so their grievances are petty of an extreme nature. They would have been aware Allardyce was famed for kick-and-rush rather than play-and-pass when he was appointed manager in the summer, yet have only become vocal because the team have drawn five home matches consecutively. Not lost, drawn. Evidently, their biggest problem would be that age old football trait; fickleness.