Thanks to goals from Gareth Bale, Ben Davies, and Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur reached the semifinals of the League Cup with a 3-1 victory over second-tier side Stoke City on Wednesday.
Spurs manager Jose Mourinho paid the now-Championship squad the compliment of fielding a strong side from the off, including goal-machine Kane, on the sort of inhospitable evening that Stoke’s stadium became popular for in the Premier League.
The Premier League side dominated the first half and took a deserved lead when Gareth Bale flicked in a cute 22nd-minute header from a Harry Winks cross after winning the League Cup in 2008, seeking a first major trophy.
It was Bale’s third goal since returning from Real Madrid on loan to Tottenham.
At the Bet365 Stadium, the hosts missed their famously passionate crowd, but the cold wind and pre-match rain bore out the old cliche about a “cold, wet night at Stoke.” being the hardest test in football.
And indeed, as the few present to watch huddled in their woollies, Stoke in the second half brought scowls to Mourin’s face with an equalizer by Jordan Thompson, who in the 53rd minute beat Hugo Lloris from close after Jacob Brown’s pass.
However, Tottenham weathered the mini-storm to regain their lead with a fine low shot by Ben Davies from outside the area in the 70th minute before Kane, predictably, blasted in the 81st minute from close range into the top of the net.
“We’re really happy. We knew that a cold, wet windy Wednesday night at Stoke was going to be tough,” Winks said afterward, man-of-the-match.
“The boys were brilliant. It’s a tough place to come.”
Earlier this month, the Spurs were top of the Premier League, but after gaining just a point from their last three matches, they fell to sixth. With Chelsea and Manchester United, Mourinho has already won the League Cup four times and is just two wins away from a fifth victory in the competition.
“We deserved it, “We deserved it. “Now we have two tough games to come.”