Sun, Jan 29, 2012 - Page 7 News List

‘Lucky’ Spurs squeeze past Watford; Everton advance

AFP, London

Harry Redknapp took his place on the Tottenham bench as his Premier League side squeezed past Watford 1-0 to advance to the last 16 of the FA Cup on Friday.

Spurs midfielder Rafael van der Vaart scored the only goal at Vicarage Road as Redknapp was given cause to smile after a demanding week which has seen him in the dock of a London court on trial for tax evasion.

Spurs, beaten 3-2 by Manchester City in their last Premier League outing, indicated they plan to make a serious bid for the FA Cup after naming a strong side for the fourth-round match.

However, Redknapp said Spurs had been fortunate to progress after a lackluster performance which saw his side outplayed for long periods.

“They say it’s better to be lucky than good, and tonight we were lucky. We weren’t good,” Redknapp said. Goalscorer van der Vaart said Tottenham had been fortunate to advance after an unconvincing display.

“We played a bad game today and Watford deserved more, maybe a win,” van der Vaart said.

Tottenham took the lead three minutes before halftime after a blunder by Watford goalkeeper Scott Loach.

Kyle Walker launched a counter-attack and fed van der Vaart, whose long-range effort bamboozled Loach, the Watford goalkeeper misjudging the bounce horribly as the Dutchman’s shot flew past him into the net.

The goal was hard on Watford, who had matched the Premier League pace-setters well throughout the opening period and will be ruing their failure to convert any one of half a dozen chances.

The Hornets also began the second-half in positive fashion, hitting the woodwork when Sean Murray’s curling effort was helped onto the post by Spurs goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini.

Tottenham nearly doubled their lead midway through the half, van der Vaart’s effort hitting the crossbar after a swift counter-attack involving Jermain Defoe and Aaron Lennon.

Watford hit the woodwork again through a John Eustace header, but Spurs held on to enter today’s fifth-round draw.

In Friday’s other fourth round game, Everton came from behind to defeat Fulham 2-1 in a hard-fought battle at Goodison Park.

A goal 17 minutes from time from Everton’s Belgian international midfielder Marouane Fellaini clinched victory for the Toffees, who had equalized through Denis Stracqualursi after Danny Murphy put Fulham ahead from the penalty spot.

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