Tottenham teen pays penalty at Stoke
MASSIMO Luongo received words of support from the managers of both teams after the Tottenham debutant's missed spot-kick gifted Stoke a place in the Carling Cup fourth round last night.
Thomas Sorensen saved Luongo's effort to seal a 7-6 penalty shoot-out victory for the Potters.
The game at the Britannia Stadium had finished 0-0 after extra-time, with Sorensen palming a powerful strike by Roman Pavlyuchenko over the bar in the 53rd minute and Stoke substitute Jon Walters unable to convert a one-on-one chance in the additional half-hour. Once 120 minutes was up and Walters and Jermain Defoe had scored to make it 1-1 in the shoot-out, Spurs were handed the opportunity to seize the initiative when Jermaine Pennant crashed his attempt against the crossbar.
Pavlyuchenko promptly blazed the next one over, though, and after a series of successful kicks, Luongo's failure to beat Sorensen was decisive.
Spurs boss Harry Redknapp praised youngster Luongo for having the courage to take the penalty on his first senior appearance.
“He is okay, of course,” Redknapp said. “If Pavlyuchenko had scored, he wouldn't have had to take one, would he? It would have been all over, but that is how it goes. “The kid had the bottle to step up and take one – so did young Tom Carroll and Jake Livermore, so that was good.”
Redknapp's opposite number Tony Pulis was similarly sympathetic toward Luongo. “At least he had the strength of character to go up and do it,” Pulis said.
The contest going to extra time was the last thing anyone wanted and Pulis felt it was important his side – who suffered their first defeat of the season on Sunday, a 4-0 thumping at Sunderland in the Premier League – emerged triumphant at the end of a long evening.