Spurs book semi-final show down with London Rivals

Tottenham will face London rivals Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-finals after easing to a 3-1 victory over Bolton on Tuesday.

Emotions in the capital ran high as the Trotters returned to the scene of Fabrice Muamba’s collapse 10 days ago, but they were unable to produce a performance worthy of booking a Wembley date.

Goals from Ryan Nelsen, Gareth Bale and Louis Saha put Owen Coyle’s side, who replied through Kevin Davies, to the sword and saw Spurs continue in their quest for long-awaited silverware.

The hosts dominated large portions of the game and in the first half were denied on numerous occasions by some outstanding goalkeeping from Adam Bogdan.

The Trotters shot-stopper continued to put up a one-man defensive wall in the second period, while Rafael van der Vaart saw a 25-yard free-kick cannon off the top of the crossbar.

It appeared as though the breakthrough would never arrive, but Nelsen rose highest to meet a Van der Vaart corner on 74 minutes and Spurs were finally on their way.

Their second arrived just three minutes later, with a flowing counter-attack allowing Gareth Bale to collect a Jermain Defoe pass and stroke the ball into the bottom corner.

Davies slid in to offer Bolton hope in the 90th minute, but Saha rounded off the night in style as he lashed an unstoppable drive past Bogdan with the last kick of the game.


Both sets of players had warmed up in T-shirts which read “Uniting for Fabrice” on the front and “thank you for your support for Fabrice” on the back.

The match was preceded by a warm minute of applause and chants of “Fabrice Muamba”, which were reprised, significantly, after 41 minutes, the time he suffered a cardiac arrest in the original tie.

It took 78 minutes for medics to resuscitate Muamba and he remains in intensive care but his progress in the last nine days has been described as “encouraging”.

The playing shirts from tonight’s game were to be signed by the players and auctioned off, with all proceeds to be split between the London Chest Hospital and three heart charities.

The match programme featured messages of thanks to the medical teams from both clubs and the global football community from Bolton manager Owen Coyle, Muamba’s father Marcel and his fiancee Shauna Magunda.

Dr Andrew Deaner, the Spurs fan and heart specialist who ran from the stands to assist in Muamba’s treatment and has continued to oversee his recovery, was a guest in the club’s boardroom.

Mark Davies took over from Muamba in midfield and Chris Eagles replaced Martin Petrov as the only Bolton changes from the original tie, while Spurs brought in Ledley King, Emmanuel Adebayor and Jake Livermore.

Tottenham passed with pace and purpose, creating holes in the Bolton defence and it was only Bogdan’s brilliance under siege that kept the match goalless for so long.

Bogdan was equal to Bale’s powerful early drive before pulling off the first of two top-class double saves, to deny Livermore and Modric from close range.

Kyle Walker was causing Bolton problems down the right flank and Adebayor should have done better after being picked out by a Van der Vaart corner.

Bolton had nothing going forward and it was Bogdan who kept them in the game, producing another double save after Adebayor had been released down the left by Benoit Assou-Ekotto.

Adebayor cut inside and tried a low drive but Bogdan pushed it away from goal and then closed down Bale to block the second shot.

Bale drilled into the side-netting, then Scott Parker saw a strike well saved.

Van der Vaart rattled the bar with a free-kick early in the second half and then picked out King but the Spurs captain headed just over.

Bolton briefly threatened against the run of play, with Nigel Reo-Coker breaking clear only to be tackled by Nelsen before Eagles’ shot was deflected behind for a corner.

Spurs were soon back on the attack and Bogdan continued his heroics to first deny Van der Vaart and then Adebayor when both had been put through on goal.

Defoe came on and also saw his first effort saved by Bogdan but finally, after 74 minutes, Spurs broke the deadlock.

Bogdan could not reach a corner from the right and Nelsen rose at the far post to head the ball back across goal and put Spurs ahead.

Within three minutes Bogdan was beaten again when Defoe led a Tottenham counter-attack and fed Bale, who cut inside and slid his shot under Bogdan to effectively seal the win.

Davies slid in a late consolation before Saha wrapped up the Spurs win at the end.