New England Soccer Today

Spurs Fall Out of Cup

Clint Dempsey battles for the ball against Norwich. (Photo: Tottenham Hotspur)

Clint Dempsey had a rare chance to play as Tottenham Hotspur’s lone striker on Wednesday, going against the Premier League’s second worst defense in Norwich City. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a night he’ll want to forget.

Dempsey saw his 89th minute penalty kick saved with Spurs trailing 2-1, all but dooming his club to defeat in the Capital One Cup Fourth Road at Norwich’s Carrow Road.

“It was disappointing,” said Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas to “I think we played a good game, controlled the possession and played good football in the first and second half.”

Spurs, playing a mix of regular starters with some lesser used players, dominated much of the early proceedings, but went into half time scoreless. Dempsey, a U.S. International and former New England Revolution star, often found himself isolated up top and saw little more than a few half chances.

The visitors continued to look the better side in the second half and finally found the breakthrough in the 66th minute. Gareth Bale got the ball from Tom Carroll and dribbled forward before powering a low right footed shot past Mark Bunn and inside the near post from over 20 yards out to put Spurs up 1-0.

The goal seemed to spark Norwich to life, however, and the home side began to look more active in the attack. Spurs brought on defender Jan Vertonghen for Carroll, to help shore up the defense in the 79th minute.

Unfortunately for Tottenham, five minutes after his entrance into the match, Vertonghen deflected a shot from Alexander Tettey, which looked set to go wide, past Hugo Lloris and into the net, equalizing for Norwich with an own goal.

Then, with three minutes left in regulation, Loris couldn’t hold a header from Grant Holt, allowing  Simeon Jackson to score from close range and put Norwich up 2-1.

But Spurs would earn a golden opportunity to equalize moments later when Marc Tierney slid in on Kyle Walker, and the 22 year old defender went down — perhaps a bit easily. Referee Jon Moss pointed to the spot for a Spurs penalty kick.

“I thought the lad made a bit of a meal of it. I spoke to Marc Tierney and he said he didn’t touch him,” Norwich manager Chris Hughton told The Sun.

Dempsey stepped up to take the penalty, hitting in low to Bunn’s left, but Bunn managed to make the save.

Spurs had a couple of late chances, but were unable to find the equalizer as Norwich advanced to the quarterfinals of the cup and Tottenham were eliminated. Tottenham returns to Premier League action on Saturday, at White Hart Lane, against Wigan Athletic.

“We feel the frustration and the disappointment from not making it into the quarter-finals, but we move on and focus on Wigan now,” said Villas-Boas.

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