Spurs and Royals go to a replay
Two goals each for Dimitar Berbatov and Stephen Hunt but Spurs and Reading go to a replay.
By Chris Burton
Last Updated: 05/01/08 5:58pm
There were two goals each for Dimitar Berbatov and Stephen Hunt but Spurs and Reading will go to a replay after an entertaining 2-2 draw at White Hart Lane.
It was the Royals who took the lead in controversial circumstances. Stephen Hunt flighted a free-kick towards goal from wide on the right and a back-peddling Paul Robinson appeared to pluck the ball out of the air before it crossed the line.
As he was then bundled into the net the linesman signalled that he had carried the ball over the line and a goal was awarded.
The decision looked harsh on Spurs, but they levelled through Berbatov just three minutes later. A clever ball from Aaron Lennon found the Bulgarian in space eight yards out and after taking a touch off his thigh he smashed in his effort off the underside of the bar.
Five minutes into the second period and a clumsy challenge from Liam Rosenior on Robbie Keane allowed Berbatov to grab his second from the spot.
Despite hardly creating anything all game, Reading grabbed an equaliser on 79 minutes when Robinson failed to hold on to a Leroy Lita effort and Hunt reacted quickest to knock in the rebound.
Eight minutes from time Tom Huddlestone was sent off after an altercation with Bobby Convey. The midfielder had been on the pitch less than five minutes after coming on as a late substitute.
The excitement started within two minutes when Hunt and Convey broke, with Lita having a glimpse of goal but Jermaine Jenas slid in and blocked on the edge of the area.
Robbie Keane was found by Berbatov after a mistake by Andre Bikey, but the finish slipped wide with the goal at his mercy.
Spurs have been woeful at defending set-pieces this season, although none of the defenders could be blamed for the opener in the 25th minute when Didier Zokora had fouled Shane Long around 40 yards out.
Hunt is no stranger to goal-line controversy after his strike against Sunderland - and his speculative free-kick dipping under the crossbar set off another debate.
Robinson should have dealt with it, even with Bikey closing in, yet the momentum dragged the England goalkeeper back and the assistant referee flagged for a goal. Replays could not determine whether the whole ball crossed the line.
Spurs' response was swift, with Berbatov grabbing the leveller in the 28th minute. Lennon's reverse pass found him beyond the Reading defence and the Bulgaria striker crashed in his finish off the crossbar and post.
Berbatov then went wide with a scissors kick from Jenas' cross, then the midfielder latched onto Keane's flick but Adam Federici was down well to save.
Jenas was sent through again in the last minute of the first half and Federici was down again smartly.
Spurs were ahead in the 48th minute when Keane was played behind the Reading defence but was blocked by Rosenior in the process of shooting.
Keane had missed his last two penalties, so Berbatov stepped up and beat Federici, despite the Australian diving the right way.
Keane had the ball in the net when he followed in Berbatov's shot from the edge of the area, but the Republic of Ireland striker was ruled offside.
Berbatov had the scent of a hat-trick when Pascal Chimbonda crossed, but Hunt and Bikey were on the goal-line to deny him.
Reading continued to threaten and Robinson took out Dawson when clearing a long ball as Lita lurked.
Lita played a crucial role in Reading's equaliser, cutting in from left and shooting at Robinson's near post. Robinson could not hold and Hunt tapped in the rebound from a tight angle.
Huddlestone was brought on for Steed Malbranque and was involved in an ugly incident with Convey where he appeared to clash heads with his opponent. Referee Mark Clattenburg gave him a straight red card.
|Team Name||Tottenham Hotspur||Reading|
|Shots On Target||9||3|
|Shots Off Target||5||2|