Leeds get crawled all over

LONDON • Chelsea and Manchester City yesterday both comfortably advanced to the fourth round of the FA Cup but the magic of the competition was still alive, as League Two team Crawley eliminated Premier League side Leeds.

The Blues and City made light work of lower-league opposition, beating fourth-tier Morecambe and Championship outfit Birmingham 4-0 and 3-0 respectively.

However, Leeds, who fielded a strong line-up, including €30 million (S$48.6 million) club-record signing Rodrigo and England international Kalvin Phillips, were stunned 3-0 at Crawley.

Nicholas Tsaroulla, Ashley Nadesan and Jordan Tunnicliffe netted at The People’s Pension Stadium, meaning the visitors, coached by Marcelo Bielsa, have now exited the FA Cup at this stage for the fourth straight year.

An emotional Tsaroulla, who was on the books of Tottenham as a youngster before being released in 2017 owing to the effects of a car crash, said: “It’s crazy. It’s been a long hard road for me with a couple of tough years, but what a moment for me.

“I sort of lost myself in the moment, it was all a bit of a blur. But I am buzzing. It’s been tough for me. Anyone can come back from everything and I just hope that I can inspire somebody else out there.”

Former England captain Terry Butcher told BBC Radio 5 Live that the way Crawley, who are sixth in their division, played belied their status and they were “a credit to football”.

“A clean sheet against a Premier League side is a big feather in their cap for Crawley but just to win the game is a big thing for them,” he said.

Former Newcastle midfielder and pundit Jermaine Jenas added: “Crawley were very comfortable and organised throughout the game. It’s a tough one for the Leeds players to deal with but they didn’t deserve anything out of the game.”

At Stamford Bridge, Chelsea put a halt to a poor run of form – four losses in six Premier League games – as Mason Mount, scoring on his 22nd birthday, Timo Werner and Callum Hudson-Odoi grabbed the first three goals.

Werner ended his two-month goal drought, while Kai Havertz, who made his first start in five games, helped to create his fellow Germany international’s strike before netting late on as the hosts secured their first win in four games in all competitions.

At the Etihad, reserve goalkeeper Zack Steffen kept his place despite regular starter Ederson returning after two games out due to a positive Covid-19 test.

Bernando Silva nabbed a double while Phil Foden scored the other, enabling City manager Pep Guardiola to take off Kevin de Bruyne, Ruben Dias and Joao Cancelo at the break, and bringing on a further two players in the second half.

The fourth-round draw will be made today.


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