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Liverpool cruise, Spurs held in FA Cup

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LONDON, England, February 20 – Premier League high-flyers Tottenham Hotspur were held to a shock goalless draw away to third tier Stevenage in the FA Cup fifth round on Sunday and now face a replay to reach the quarter-finals.

Tottenham, third in English football’s top-flight and eight-times FA Cup winners, did see Stevenage goalkeeper Chris Day, a former Spurs player, make a good save to turn Gareth Bale’s 25-yard effort round the post early in the second half.

Spurs then had the ball in the back of net when Louis Saha steered in Danny Rose’s cross only for the effort to be ruled out after a linesman spotted the striker’s shot had clipped the offside Scott Parker before hitting the net.

“I’ve managed lower league sides that have knocked Premier League teams out (of the FA Cup) and managed Premier League teams who’ve been knocked out,” Redknapp told ITV.

“They (Stevenage) made it difficult and worked hard.”

Delighted Stevenage boss Gary Smith said: “We had one or two opportunities we could have made more of but, overall, the players were outstanding.”

There no stumbles for the other two Premier League sides involved in Cup action on Sunday.

Liverpool and Stoke will face each other in the quarter-finals after the Reds thrashed Championship Brighton 6-1 at Anfield and Stoke triumphed 2-0 away to fourth-tier Crawley Town.

Liverpool, helped by a Cup record three own goals from Brighton, went ahead in the fifth minute when Martin Skrtel headed in Steven Gerrard’s corner.

But the Seagulls were level in the 17th minute thanks to Kazenga LuaLua’s fierce free-kick through a disintegrating wall.

Before half-time Liverpool were 2-1 up when a Glen Johnson header deflected in off Liam Bridcutt.

Andy Carroll made it 3-1 with a thumping 57th minute shot before the luckless Bridcutt ‘scored’ his second own goal in the 71st minute, when he turned in a Gerrard shot.

Three minutes later Brighton’s Lewis Dunk hacked a Luis Suarez cross into his own net and five minutes from time Suarez, who had a penalty saved, completed the rout with a headed goal.

Victory set up Liverpool for next week’s League Cup final at Wembley against another second-tier club in Cardiff and Gerrard told ESPN: “It’s always nice to first of all get the win and then to win convincingly.

“The important thing was to focus on this game. We have a massive game at Wembley next week but we want to go to Wembley again in the FA Cup so today was just as important.”

Brighton boss Gus Poyet, whose side are pushing for a playoff place, said the match demonstrated the gulf between teams in the top half of the Premier League and clubs such as the Seagulls.

“People think we are ready for the Premiership but we are not. If you want to one day get to the Premiership as a team or as a player you need to learn.”

Stoke won at Crawley despite playing most of the match a man down after Rory Delap was sent off.

Goals either side of half-time, courtesy of a Jonathan Walters penalty and a Peter Crouch header, saw Stoke, last season’s beaten finalists, into the last eight.

But Premier League Stoke suffered an early setback when Delap was shown a straight red card by referee Mike Jones for a lunging challenge on David Hunt in the 17th minute.

Stoke manager Tony Pulis criticised Jones for Delap’s red card by saying: “There is a big problem within the game in that I think professional people and referees are so far apart in what they see in terms of what are fair challenges or competitive challenges and the bad, reckless challenges.”

Sunday’s quarter-final draw produced another all Premier League tie with Everton, who knocked Blackpool out on Saturday, at home to Sunderland, who ended Arsenal’s FA Cup campaign.

Stevenage or Tottenham will welcome Bolton while Chelsea or Birmingham, who drew 1-1 on Saturday, will face Championship Leicester, who on Saturday beat Premier League Norwich 2-1 in the only upset win of the fifth round.

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