Fernando Llorente treble sees six-goal Spurs into FA Cup quarter-finals

Fernando Llorente treble sees six-goal Spurs  into FA Cup quarter-finals
Tottenham Hotspur’s Spanish striker Fernando Llorente (C) celebrates scoring the team’s third goal during the English FA Cup 5th round replay football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Rochdale at Wembley Stadium in London, on February 28, 2018. (AFP)
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LONDON, March 1: Fernando Llorente scored a second-half hat-trick as Tottenham Hotspur advanced into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup with a 6-1 win over lowly Rochdale in a fifth-round roplay at a snowy Wembley on Wednesday.
The match had threatened to be overshadowed by fresh controversy involving the Video Assistant Referee, who was repeatedly called upon in a first half that ended level at 1-1.
But Llorente’s treble put the result beyond doubt with Son Heung-Min, who had opened the scoring on the night, making it 5-1 in the 65th minute.
Spurs, eight-times FA Cup winners, will now be away to Premier League rivals Swansea — Llorente’s former club — in the quarter-finals as they bid to win a first major trophy since lifting the 2008 English League Cup.
“I feel good,” Llorente told BT Sport. “I’m happy because the team have won and it’s important to be in the quarter-final. We know Swansea very well — they’ve improved a lot and it will be difficult.”
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, reflecting on the use of the VAR, said: “It’s too early to judge the system but it’s not easy. I think the referees in the Premier League are the best in Europe”.
Rochdale boss Keith Hill was proud of his players despite an ultimately large loss.
“I’m not bothered about the scoreline,” Hill insisted. “I wanted the lads to show bravery.”
Third-tier strugglers Rochdale were unchanged from the side that held Tottenham to a 2-2 draw in the original tie while Pochettino made nine changes from the team which snatched a 1-0 league win at Crystal Palace last time out.
Spurs thought they had taken an early lead thanks to Erik Lamela’s close-range finish. (AFP)