Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino conceded his relief after a contentious late penalty from substitute Harry Kane rescued his side’s fading FA Cup hopes against Premier League high-flyers Leicester yesterday.
Spurs were seconds from elimination when referee Bobby Madley awarded a dubious spot-kick, penalising Nathan Dyer for handball as the on-loan winger challenged Danny Rose on the edge of the penalty area.
Kane rifled the penalty past Kasper Schmeichel for his 50th Tottenham goal after strikes from defender Marcin Wasilewski and forward Shinji Okazaki had transformed the clash following Christian Eriksen’s early opener for the hosts.
“We are happy and very pleased because it is important for us to stay alive in the competition,” said Pochettino. “The performance was good and we deserve more, but we need to be happy because we are alive and have another chance to play them.
“Sometimes in football you need to try and never give up. That is what we showed; we never gave up. During the whole season sometimes decisions are for you and sometimes against you.”
Tottenham seized the initiative in a battle of two much-changed sides on nine minutes when Eriksen collected the rebound and guided an effort beyond fellow Dane Schmeichel after Nacer Chadli’s shot had been repelled.
The lead lasted just 10 minutes. Robust centre-half Wasilewski escaped flimsy marking to power home a header from new £3.7m signing Demarai Gray’s corner.
Leicester surged into the ascendancy moments into the second period as half-time substitute Okazaki waspishly skipped through the Spurs defence and finished at the second attempt, having initially been thwarted by Michel Vorm.
Tottenham’s salvation came with seconds of normal time remaining as Kane lashed his spot-kick past Schmeichel, while the two sides meet again on Wednesday in the Premier League ahead of next week’s third round replay.