A revitalised Norwich City continue to upset odds

Posted by Paddy Davitt

Alexander Tettey (27) fires home Norwich's equaliserAPAlexander Tettey (27) fires home Norwich's equaliser against Spurs

There was a genuine air of disbelief around Carrow Road after Norwich City sealed their passage to the Capital One Cup quarter-finals at Tottenham's expense.

Canaries' boss Chris Hughton was asked in his post-match interview did he feel his men deserved to squeeze past Spurs with a two-goal salvo in the final minutes wiping out Gareth Bale's second-half opener.

- Bunn the hero as Canaries progress

Hughton gave his inquisitor a wry smile before pointing out Lady Luck had been in short supply for his new club in the early weeks of the season. City's commendable, unquenchable spirit carried the night at Carrow Road when Tottenham's smooth slick passing patterns had dictated the majority of a largely low-key contest.

That is until Jan Vertonghen inadvertently triggered a fireworks finale when he diverted Alex Tettey's wayward half volley past Hugo Lloris.

The French keeper was then punished by Simeon Jackson when he failed to push Grant Holt's towering header away from inside his six yard box. That turn of events alone would have made for a stunning sea change as Norwich secured a last eight date against Paul Lambert's Aston Villa by reaching this stage of the competition for the first time since 1996.

But there was one delicious twist left in a gripping storyline. Kyle Walker collapsed inside the home penalty area in the vicinity of Marc Tierney with seconds left. Referee Moss looked to his far-side assistant for guidance. Flag across the chest was the visual message that came back, but stand-in Norwich keeper Mark Bunn denied Clint Dempsey from the penalty spot.

The outpouring of emotion from his team mates in the immediate aftermath underlined how much this result meant. Not just for cup success, but you sense the overlapping benefits to Norwich's Premier League campaign. Hughton made 10 changes from last weekend's 1-1 league draw at Aston Villa, but still City managed to edge past a high class Tottenham side featuring the likes of Lloris, Walker, Dempsey and the imperious Bale. The Welshman's imprint was everywhere over this tie and there was little surprise when he swivelled past David Fox to despatch a crashing right-footer beyond Bunn. Young Spanish colleague Yago Falque was an eye-catching support act as Spurs enjoyed prolonged spells of territory and possession in their concerted attempts to pull City out of a disciplined collective shape.

Hughton pointed out afterwards that is now three unbeaten for a squad who looked incapable of such defensive solidity over previous weeks. City have a formation, with two holding midfielders and a link player to support a lone frontman, that on recent evidence suits the personnel at Hughton's disposal. Both Arsenal and Tottenham were frustrated by a high tempo, high energy pressing game but at Villa Park, using the same tactical plan, it was City and Wes Hoolahan in particular calling the shots.

Hughton is far too experienced an operator to get carried away. If there is one opponent in the Premier League capable of bursting bubbles it remains Stoke City. Tony Pulis was an interested spectator at Carrow Road on Wednesday night. He may have gleaned little from watching the names of the men on cup duty, but Pulis will recognise the Potters head to Norfolk facing a club on the up.

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