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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 January 2008, 21:54 GMT
Reading 0-1 Tottenham
By Ian Hughes

Robbie Keane
Keane celebrates after scoring Tottenham's opener
Tottenham made it through to the FA Cup fourth round with a greater degree of comfort than the scoreline suggested.

Robbie Keane won the tie on 15 minutes when he thumped in a rebound after Younes Kaboul headed against the bar.

Jermain Defoe came close to adding a second but his fierce, low volley was superbly palmed away by Adam Federici.

After the break Reading's Stephen Hunt lashed a volley against the bar, while Steed Malbranque's vicious volley was tipped on to the bar by Federici.

From the start, Tottenham were more confident in possession and more threatening with it, particularly from the unlikely source of Kaboul, who caused Reading problems in the air from set-plays.

It was his headed flick-on that gave Defoe a chance to open the scoring but the striker could only nod over the bar.

But when Kaboul again rose above the Reading defence from Jermaine Jenas' corner, it proved decisive as the ball was pushed against the bar by Federici only for Keane to smash in the rebound.


Apart from the pace offered by Leroy Lita, Reading appeared unable to make any impact on the Spurs defence.

And in midfield, too, they were second-best as Jenas dictated the pattern of the match.

Yet for all their superiority, Spurs created little in the way of clear opportunities to put the tie beyond Reading's reach.

Then five minutes before half-time Defoe could hardly have hit his right-footed volley better but Federici threw himself to his left to make an excellent stop.

The second half followed a similar pattern, with Spurs having the better of things and Reading struggling to raise their game.

When the hosts did threaten, Nicky Shorey could only muster a weak shot from the edge of the box that rolled harmlessly wide.

Urgency, penetration and desire were all lacking from Reading's play as Spurs easily held at them at arm's length like an older brother might nonchalantly frustrate a younger sibling.

Even so Tottenham were showing little attacking ambition of their own.

And after 14 goals in the last two meetings between the sides, the match was proving a bit of a let-down.

Inside the final five minutes, Reading finally stirred and they were within inches of an equaliser when Hunt cracked an edge-of-the-box volley against the bar.

Almost immediately afterwards Simon Cox directed a free header straight at Radek Cerny.

Tottenham were denied a second goal when Federici produced an incredible stop to divert Malbranque's ferocious volley onto the bar.

In the end, one moment of incisiveness was all that Tottenham needed to progress, where they meet will Manchester United in the next round.

  • Reading boss Steve Coppell:
    "It was my game plan that we should keep it tight in the first half and then go for it in the second half.

    "That's what we did and we threw everything at them. Maybe if we had a little bit of good fortune we could have taken it into extra-time.

    "A little bit more subtlety might have unlocked their defence, but Tottenham are a good team."

  • Tottenham assistant manager Gus Poyet:
    "We didn't want an open game today and it was important for us to keep a clean sheet.

    "Reading tried to equalise but we had two or three great chances as well so we are delighted with the performance.

    "We played very well, passed the ball around and created chances - so I think we deserved to win."

    Reading: Federici, De la Cruz, Ingimarsson, Pearce (Cox 46), Shorey (Hunt 66), Rosenior, Cisse, Harper, Convey, Lita, Long.
    Subs Not Used: Hahnemann, Doyle, Henry.

    Booked: Lita, Long.

    Tottenham: Cerny, Chimbonda, Dawson, Kaboul (Stalteri 82), Gunter, Tainio (O'Hara 76), Jenas, Boateng, Malbranque, Defoe (Lennon 61), Keane.
    Subs Not Used: Forecast, Taarabt.

    Booked: Lennon.

    Goals: Keane 15.

    Att: 22,130

    Ref: Mike Riley (Yorkshire).

    BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Tottenham's Robbie keane 8.12 (on 90 minutes).

  • Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

    FA Cup replays as they happened
    15 Jan 08 |  FA Cup
    Tuesday's football photos
    15 Jan 08 |  Football
    Tottenham 2-2 Reading
    05 Jan 08 |  FA Cup


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