Eric Lamela and Giovani Lo Celso conjure memories of Ardiles and Villa as Spurs book place in FA Cup fourth round

Eric Lamela and Giovani Lo Celso conjure memories of Ardiles and Villa as Spurs book place in FA Cup fourth round
Eric Lamela and Giovani Lo Celso conjure memories of Ardiles and Villa as Spurs book place in FA Cup fourth round

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Jose Mourinho likened Giovani Lo Celso and Erik Lamela to Tottenham Hotspur's former Argentine FA Cup heroes as they combined to send his side past Middlesbrough at the second time of asking on Tuesday.

Both were on target within the opening 15 minutes as Tottenham won the third-round replay 2-1 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The lively Lo Celso produced a cool finish after two minutes to open the scoring and Lamela did the same shortly afterwards for his fourth goal of the season.

Both impressed as second-half substitutes in Tottenham's 1-0 home defeat by Premier League leaders Liverpool on Saturday and they provided the out-of-form hosts with some much-needed spark to get past Boro and set up a fourth-round tie away to Southampton.

Spurs fans of a certain vintage will recall another pair of Argentines - Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa - who shook up English football when they arrived on English shores in 1978.

Ardiles was one of Tottenham's greatest foreign signings while Villa famously scored a solo winner in the 1981 FA Cup final replay against Manchester City.

And while Lamela and Lo Celso have a long way to go to match those feats and win the kind of adulation their countrymen had previously enjoyed, guiding the North London club to a first FA Cup title since 1991 would certainly help endear themselves to supporters.

"They played very well. I don't think Ardiles and Villa would have been ashamed at all," Mourinho said.

"They played well. The team played well. There were some sloppy passes in the second half."

While attacking midfielder Lamela has made more than 200 appearances for Tottenham since signing from Roma in 2013, Lo Celso's loan spell from Real Betis has been frustrating so far after he picked up an injury early in the season.

He is beginning to show the kind of form, however, that would convince Tottenham to make his move permanent.

"Lamela was out for so long, he has been coming back step by step. Playing half an hour against Liverpool and 90 here. You could see his fitness is coming," Mourinho said.

"And Gio again has been step by step. He was so so good against Liverpool and so so good here again. I am happy with the boys. They played with intensity."

Newcastle wasted little time putting third-tier Rochdale to the sword as they booked a home date with League One side Oxford United in the last 32 with a 4-1 win at St James' Park.

Newcastle's FA Cup form is so bad that they have not gone beyond the fourth round for 13 years, have not won the competition since 1955 and last reached the final in 1999.

They were never in danger of an embarrassing exit, in front of controversial owner Mike Ashley, after Rochdale defender Eoghan O'Connell turned Matt Ritchie's cross into his own net in the 17th minute.

Matty Longstaff doubled Newcastle's lead with a clinical close-range finish three minutes later.

Miguel Almiron had put Newcastle in front in the 1-1 draw at Rochdale and he bagged the Magpies' third goal this time, seizing on a misplaced pass from keeper Robert Sanchez and slotting home in the 26th minute.

In the 82nd minute, much-maligned Newcastle striker Joelinton scored for the first time since August, converting a cross from debutant Tom Allan and showed his relief as he sprinted to hug manager Steve Bruce on the touchline.

That ended the Brazilian striker's 20-game goal drought and brought him a first goal at St James' Park since his move from Hoffenheim last year.

"It's a hard job up front. The burden that comes on you can become difficult," Bruce said.

Third-tier Shrewsbury Town earned a home tie against Liverpool as Aaron Pierre's 89th-minute strike clinched a surprise 1-0 win against Championship side Bristol City.

Coventry's 3-0 win against Bristol Rovers set up the unusual prospect of the League One side being the 'home' team against Birmingham City in the fourth round - even though they are currently tenants of their local rivals at St Andrew's.

Watford's trip to Tranmere was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch caused by Storm Brendan.

Updated: January 15, 2020 08:31 AM

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