Tottenham advances in FA Cup in potential Eriksen farewell

The Canadian Press

LONDON — If this was to be Christian Eriksen’s last match as a Tottenham player, he went out with a victory.

The Denmark midfielder played the full 90 minutes as Tottenham held off a late fightback from second-tier Middlesbrough to win 2-1 in their FA Cup replay and advance to the fourth round on Tuesday.

After the final whistle, Eriksen handed his jersey to a fan in the crowd at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, potentially a sign that he might have gotten his wish to leave the club where he has been since 2013.

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His contract expires at the end of the season and he has been linked with a move to Italian team Inter Milan, with his displays for Spurs this season dipping way below his usual standards. Eriksen said as long ago as the off-season that he might fancy a new challenge in his career after six seasons at the London club.

Jose Mourinho’s best chance of a trophy in his first season as Tottenham manager lies with the FA Cup, and the team’s road to Wembley Stadium hasn’t started smoothly.

A 1-1 draw at Middlesbrough brought the teams back to London for a replay, which Tottenham started well and took a two-goal lead after 15 minutes through Giovani Lo Celso and Erik Lamela.

Middlesbrough, managed by former England and Real Madrid defender Jonathan Woodgate, battled back in the second half and ensured a nervy end to the game for Mourinho when Tottenham goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga failed to keep out George Saville’s 83rd-minute strike from the edge of the area.

Spurs hung on and will play Southampton away next in an all-Premier League matchup.

“I told my players at halftime if we don't score (to make it) 3-0 then if (it is) 2-1, we would be in trouble and it happened,” Mourinho said. “We knew the opponents were hard.”

Newcastle has a great chance to go beyond the fourth round for the first time since 2006 after easing past Rochdale 4-1 to set up a match with another third-tier team, Oxford.

Paraguay playmaker Miguel Almiron, with his fourth goal in seven games, completed a flurry of early goals by pouncing on a goalkeeper error to make it 3-0 after 26 minutes. Joelinton added a fourth in the 82nd minute, for the Brazilian striker’s first goal since August and only second since his off-season move from Hoffenheim in Germany.

Premier League leader Liverpool found out its fourth-round opponent and it will be third-tier Shrewsbury Town, which beat Bristol City 1-0 thanks to an 89th-minute winner in its cozy New Meadow stadium.

Lower-league teams Coventry and Reading also advanced Tuesday.

Premier League team Watford’s replay against Tranmere, of the third tier, was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch and will be replayed next week.

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The Associated Press

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