LONDON: Fernando Llorente’s hat-trick helped fire Tottenham Hotspur to a crushing 6-1 victory over third-tier Rochdale early this morning in an FA Cup fifth-round replay packed with contentious decisions that thrust the VAR system back into the spotlight.
Llorente’s second-half treble, a double from Son Heung-min and a late effort from Kyle Walker-Peters in driving snow at a freezing Wembley Stadium settled an game where tensions had threatened to bubble over before the break.
The Video Assistant Referee disallowed an early Tottenham goal before awarding them a disputed penalty, which was converted by Son, only for referee Paul Tierney to chalk off his effort and book the player for stopping during his run-up.
Rochdale’s Stephen Humphrys cancelled out Son’s opener, rubbing salt into Spurs’ wounds and ensuring the halftime debate centred on the VAR system, which is being trialled in the FA Cup this season.
Spurs set up a quarter-final tie away to Premier League strugglers Swansea City.