AP – First Manchester United, now Tottenham. Second-tier Middlesbrough is toppling some of English soccer’s biggest clubs in its FA Cup run.
A goal at the start of the second half of extra time earned Middlesbrough a 1-0 win over Tottenham in the fifth round of the competition early yesterday.
The team coached by Chris Wilder, who worked wonders with Sheffield United in its recent stint in the Premier League, needed to win a penalty shootout at Old Trafford to get past United in the fourth round.
This time, at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium, victory was wrapped up earlier when 19-year-old substitute Josh Coburn just stayed onside to run onto a through-ball and smash a rising finish into the top corner.
It ensured there will be lower-league representation in the draw for the quarterfinals, though it was the only surprising result yesterday.
Manchester City, the Premier League champion, dispatched another second-tier team in Peterborough in a routine 2-0 victory even if the goals came in the second half through Riyad Mahrez and Jack Grealish. Crystal Palace beat Championship side Stoke 2-1.
The defeat ensured it will be another season without a trophy for Tottenham, whose last piece of silverware was the League Cup in 2008. After a loss at Burnley last week,
Tottenham’s often-emotional manager, Antonio Conte, questioned whether he was the right man to lead the team.
He was rather calmer after the latest setback, which continued Tottenham’s turbulent recent run of form that has also seen the team beat Manchester City and Leeds away. “I repeat, we have to try to avoid the up and down, up and down, and there is only one way to improve the situation, to work and learn about the defeat,” Conte said. “We have to go ahead and we will try to do our best this season.
“We have to give our best for the rest of the season, then we will see what is our position and the evaluation of our season. It is early to say something about this.”