Tottenham 2-1 (aet) Leicester City: Spurs progress to first-ever final in 118th minute

Tottenham needed extra time at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday to confirm victory over Leicester City in their first-ever Adobe Women’s FA Cup semifinal.

18,078 fans flooded through the turnstiles in N17 – including a respectable away crowd that was sent into raptures when a moment of magic from Jutta Rantala handed them the lead at half-time.

But Jessica Naz struck back late on, forcing an additional period of stoppage time. It would prove to be a euphoric end for the Lilywhites though, with Martha Thomas’ headed effort in the 118th minute sending Robert Vilahamn’s side through to Wembley for the first time in their history.

As it happened

While Leicester City forced the first real chance of Sunday’s lunchtime encounter in N17 when Sam Tierney fired wide of the left post after just three minutes, it was the hosts that would go on to dominate the opening stages of the match.

Lize Kop was called into action twice within the first ten minutes, first claiming a Jess Naz ball whipped in from the right before smothering a fierce effort from Celin Bizet after the Norwegian cut inside to test the Foxes shotstopper.

But against the run of play, it would be Leicester City finding themselves in the lead with 12 minutes on the clock. CJ Bott worked her way infield, spraying a ball out wide for Jutta Rantala. The Finland international has become something of a prolific scorer this season, and made no mistake with the finish as she danced towards goal and curled past Becky Spencer.

CREDIT: Kerrie Jacobs-Bryant [FromTheSpot]

The Foxes had the wind in their sails from that point on – Deanne Rose played a promising ball across the face of goal less than five minutes after the visitors seized the lead, but a touch from a central position saw the chance spurned as the ball trickled out wide.

Robert Vilahamn’s Lilywhites looked to regain confidence as the half wore on, with Naz a particularly bright spark on the right flank. Her deliveries into the box were threatening, but she was caught offside as the hosts looked to initiate a rapid counterattack within the final ten minutes of the half.

Tottenham forced the better chances at the start of the second half, with Beth England coming remarkably close to restoring parity with a strike destined for the top-left corner – but the former Chelsea forward could only watch in disbelief as it flew inches wide of the target.

Amanda Nildén and Eveliina Summanen would too see chances squandered within the first five minutes of the half, just before the Foxes began to subdue the threat caused by these relentless attacking waves.

It would be almost twenty minutes before Sunday’s hosts truly challenged Kop again, with the Dutch goalkeeper just beating substitute Martha Thomas to claim Grace Clinton’s delivery from the left flank.

But with seven minutes of regulation time remaining, Spurs would be gifted a lifeline through Naz. A dinked ball over the top from England set the forward free on goal; her pace too much for the Foxes to match, and her finish too classy for Kop to deny.

CREDIT: Kerrie Jacobs-Bryant [FromTheSpot]

Shannon O’Brien was keen to impress for Leicester in the dying minutes, stunning two defenders as she cut inside and put Spencer to work once again – but the Spurs keeper was equal to her tame finish.

The momentum was firmly with Tottenham, and Thomas had the majority of those inside the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the six added minutes of stoppage time, until the sudden realisation set in that a fine save from Kop had resulted in her effort rolling inches wide of the post.

As the clock restarted for an additional thirty minutes, Rantala came close to netting a sensational second – her free-kick from the edge of the box being pushed onto the underside of the bar by Spencer after Saori Takarada’s withdrawal.

With the half-time marker approaching, Matilda Vinberg was played through on goal and sought to test Kop. The Dutchwoman remained unmoved though, smothering the near-post effort with ease.

There would be a celebratory end after all in North London though, without the need for penalties. A late corner found the head of Thomas, with the Scottish international nodding past Kop in the 118th minute to seal the Lilywhites progression to Wembley Stadium.

CREDIT: Kerrie Jacobs-Bryant [FromTheSpot]

The lineups

TOT: Spencer; Nildén, Bühler, James-Turner, Neville; Clinton, Spence, Summanen; Bizet, England, Naz

LEI: Kop; Cayman, Howard, Green, Bott; Takarada; Rose, Momiki, Tierney, Rantala; Petermann