Tottenham exit FA Cup on penalties after limp display gifts Norwich a quarter-final
FA Cup 5th round
Tottenham 1 Norwich City 1 (after extra-time)
Norwich win 3-2 on penalties
Spurs bowed out of the FA Cup – failing to convert three of their five penalties in the shoot-out – to continue a wretched unravelling of their season.
A home quarter-final against Manchester United or Derby County was on offer – the draw taking place as the teams settled into extra time – but not even that could rouse a subdued Spurs, who could have no real complaints after a limp display.
After Michel Vorm had saved City's first kick from Kenny McLean, Erik Lamela clipped his spot-kick onto the top of the bar, then Canaries keeper Tim Krul saved from sub Troy Parrott – an awful moment for the youngster – and Gedson.
All this in front of the massed South Stand too.
And all topped off by the unedifying sight of Eric Dier wading into the stand after the final whistle to apparently confront an abusive fan.
But really, Tottenham have only themselves to blame. They were second best for so much of the second half that it already began to look as if bottom-of-the-table Norwich would inflict more damage to their season.
And when Josip Drmic scored 12 minutes from time to cancel out Jan Vertonghen's 13th minute opener, it hinted at more pain on the way.
Spurs needed this competition. Jose Mourinho needed this competition.
With the Champions League possibly slipping out of reach after the first leg defeat to Leipzig and the league form patchy without the injured Harry Kane and Hueng-Min Son, a dismal end to the season hovers like an ominous vulture and the drop in form of Dele Alli has only added to the angst.
With Lamela and Tanguy Ndmobele off the bench, Spurs revived briefly before the end and looked like they were finally aware of what was at stake, but then then they slipped back into their diffident ways.
Giovani Lo Celso did come close to putting Spurs back in front in extra time, but had his near-post drive blocked by the inspired Krul and Gedson skied over when well placed.
Spurs had begun well enough, with a sudden injection of pace from Lucas Moura causing the first palpitations in the Norwich defence and it needed an alert stop from Krul to stop Lo Celso from slipping the ball home at the end of that raid.
But moments later, Lo Celso swung in a great free-kick from the left for Vertonghen to head home at the far post – the Belgian's first goal since the trip to Wolves in December.
The Canaries were very spirited when they were beaten at Spurs in January and they once again refused to give it all up as a bad job, and Emi Buendia went close with a shot that was saved by Vorm – his first game of the season - and the near-miss lifted away spirits.
Soon, Vorm was being tested again from distance – spilling a shot from Lukas Rupp agonisingly near to his goal-line, while Dier had to block another earthy attempt, this time from Mario Vrancic.
Moura ought to have doubled Tottenham's lead before the break as he robbed a dithering Vrancic, but Krul rushed out to deflect the attempt over the bar.
Norwich near misses continued after the break with Vrancic curling a free-kick onto the roof of the net and on 78 minutes, after much possession, albeit with minimal threat, the Canaries drew level.
Vorm spilled a shot from sub McLean and Drmic was quickest to the rebound, just ahead of Davinson Sanchez to bump the ball home.
That sent the huge away contingent into raptures. It was a deserved goal for them but their best celebrations were yet to come.
Line up: Vorm – Aurier, Sanchez, Dier, Vertonghen - Skipp, Winks (Ndombele 81), Lo Celso – Moura (Lamela 70), Alli (Parrott 97), Bergwijn (Gedson 54). Subs not used: Gazzaniga, Alderweireld, Tanganga