Jennifer Foster: Spurs defeat ‘will hurt, but this won’t be the last time we’re in a semifinal’

As Leicester City ventured to N17 on Sunday, hopes were high that they’d be confirmed as first-time Adobe Women’s FA Cup finalists by mid-afternoon. Their opponents, Tottenham Hotspur, would also be vying for that title – and in the end, it was the hosts that secured it thanks to an extra-time win.

The Foxes opened the scoring through Jutta Rantala, but Spurs clawed back a late equaliser through Jess Naz before Martha Thomas nodded home the winner in the 118th minute at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Speaking post-match, Jennifer Foster acknowledged that the defeat ‘will probably hurt for a while.’

Foster has taken charge of the team on an interim basis since Willie Kirk’s sacking was confirmed, with the Scottish manager dismissed after an internal investigation found evidence of a player-coach relationship.

‘It’s immensely disappointing, especially when it goes right down to the wire,’ Foster reflected post-match. ‘This will hurt and it will probably hurt for a while. But this won’t be the last time we’re in a semifinal. Sometimes the best times have to take a hit in order to progress.’

We said at the start of the season that our ambition was to get as far as possible. We did that by getting to a semifinal and everyone always looks to us as ‘little Leicester’, but we’re not ‘little Leicester’ and we’re putting ourselves on the map. This won’t be the last time we’re here and hopefully next time we can get through to the final.’

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Rantala’s opener came after just twelve minutes on Sunday, and Foster highlighted her side’s inability to extend their lead as a contributing factor to the heartbreaking defeat. ‘As we scored earlier on, the longer it goes on that we don’t take our other chances, the more opportunity for the opposition to build momentum,’ she explained.

‘I didn’t think we created enough clinical chances, but the chances we did create we could have taken and that would have helped massively. They had it at times when we scored that they left a few chances on the pitch and then they’re probably looking at it and thinking is it going to be one of those games.’