Tottenham Hotspur had Dele Alli to thank for as the midfielder struck a 65th-minute winner against Barnsley to ensure the Lilywhites’ progression into the pre-quarters of the Carabao Cup at Wembley.
After being held to a frustrating 0-0 draw by Swansea on the weekend, the ‘Wembley Curse’ topic was trending once again and initially it seemed the brave Championship side would force a replay.
The atmosphere at Wembley was subdued, not helped by the fact that the 90,000 stadium was nowhere near full capacity and Barnsley had couple of chances of their own in the first-half, almost as many as the home side enjoyed.
Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen, Hugo Lloris were among the many stars rested for Tuesday’s tie but Spurs still had plenty of quality in their line-up. Fernando Llorente started for the first time since his summer move from Swansea and the tall Spaniard missed a glorious chance in the first-half.
Unmarked inside the box, Llorente’s sent his header high from a corner to let the visitors off the hook and with the Llywhites pressing high in the Barnsley half, there was always a chance that the hosts would be breached on the break.
And had 19-year-old Harvey Barnes shown a bit more of composure inside the Spurs box to lay it off for a teammate instead of opting to shoot from a tight angle, the Championship side would have taken a shock lead.
The gutsy Tykes should have gone ahead soon after when centre-back Liam Lindsay was gifted a free header inside the six-yard area from a corner but the defender could not direct his header on target and that was the final action of the first-half.
Spurs, seeking to avoid the ignominy of an early exit from the competition, upped the tempo after the interval and Alli came close to breaking the deadlock when his low shot from outside the box flashed wide of the post.
Alli wasn’t to be denied for long, however, and the Englishman got his goal when Kieran Trippier burst into the box with a brilliant run on the right wing. The wing-back squared it to Alli to guide home and the Spurs bench heaved a sigh of relief.
Heung-min Son was lively in the closing stages, testing Adam Davies twice but the Korean winger was unable to add gloss to the suorline and Spurs progressed to the round-of-16 with a 1-0 scoreline.
Spurs make the short trip to West Ham on Saturday in the Premier League for their next game and after a stellar away record this season, will look to continue the trend at the London Stadium.