LONDON – Liverpool overcame fourth-tier Exeter City 3-0 on Wednesday to set up an FA Cup fourth-round clash with West Ham United, while Tottenham Hotspur eliminated familiar foes Leicester City.
Liverpool had required a 73rd-minute equaliser from Brad Smith to snatch a 2-2 draw at Exeter in the teams’ first meeting and the League Two side gave another good account of themselves in the reunion at Anfield.
But Jurgen Klopp’s team prevailed in the third-round replay courtesy of a 10th-minute Joe Allen strike and first Liverpool goals for 18-year-old substitute Sheyi Ojo and Joao Teixeira.
Klopp, who made 10 changes to his starting XI, praised his young players, telling BT Sport: “They did really well. We could have scored more goals in both halves.
“It’s still a short time that we’ve worked with these boys, but it was good. They showed that they are talented, with big skills, but they showed as well that they have to work, which is as it should be.”
Exeter’s 6,000 travelling fans saw their team fall behind early on when Allen tapped in at the near post after Smith had exchanged passes with Christian Benteke and cut the ball back from the byline on the left.
Jordon Ibe seemed on a personal mission to score Liverpool’s second goal, notably seeing a rasping shot hit the bar and bounce on the line, before admitting defeat and teeing up Ojo to curl home in front of the Kop in the 74th minute.
Portuguese midfielder Teixeira got in on the act eight minutes later, finishing coolly from Benteke’s pass.
In further positive news for Liverpool, home-grown full-back Jon Flanagan made his comeback as a second-half substitute after 20 months out with a knee injury.
t Leicester’s King Power Stadium, South Korea forward Son Heung-Min produced a brilliant goal and assist as Tottenham won 2-0 to secure a trip to third-tier Colchester United.
In the teams’ third encounter in 11 days — the 2-2 draw in the first FA Cup meeting having been followed by Leicester’s 1-0 win at White Hart Lane in the league — the hosts made nine changes and visitors Spurs eight.
Son broke the deadlock in breathtaking style in the 39th minute, flashing a rocket of a shot past goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel from the right-hand apex of the penalty area.
After home debutant Demarai Gray had seen a curler clawed away by Michel Vorm, Son’s beautifully weighted pass freed Nacer Chadli to stroke a left-foot shot beneath Schmeichel in the 66th minute.
Home manager Claudio Ranieri sent on talisman Jamie Vardy with 18 minutes remaining, but Spurs held firm to avenge their 2-1 loss to Leicester in last season’s fourth round.
“It was a fantastic performance and I’m very pleased for the players and supporters,” said Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino.
“We dominated and managed the game well and scored at key moments. Our attitude was fantastic.”
With Leicester flying high in second place in the Premier League, Ranieri was philosophical in defeat.
“Tonight Spurs deserved to win, but they’re a team building for the top four,” said the Italian. “Our journey has just started.” â€“ AFP