Have Spurs banished their curse in penalty shoot-outs ahead of Chelsea cup final?
As Spurs prepare to face Chelsea at Wembley, the prospect of a penalty shoot-out looms large – and the Lilywhites have a dismal record over the years.
Tottenham lost their last cup final on penalties, going down 4-1 to Manchester United in 2009, with Jamie O’Hara and David Bentley missing as Harry Redknapp’s outfit failed to retain the League Cup.
That was part of a long line of seven successive shoot-out defeats, which haunted the north Londoners for almost 20 years.
It all began with an FA Cup fifth-round replay in 1996, as Spurs lost 3-1 to Nottingham Forest after a 1-1 draw in normal time.
It wasn’t for another seven years that they featured in another penalty contest but the end result was the same against Middlesbrough in the League Cup – with the shoot-out locked at 4-4, Mauricio Taricco struck the post.
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A year later Spurs exited the same competition in similar circumstances, with Michael Brown and Frederic Kanoute missing as Liverpool triumphed 4-3 in the quarter-finals at White Hart Lane.
A 2008 Uefa Cup tie against PSV Eindhoven was the next imprint in Spurs’ gloomy record, with Juande Ramos’ Tottenham exiting in the last 16 as Heurelho Gomes – who went on to sign for Spurs – denied Jermaine Jenas before Pascal Chimbonda missed in a 6-5 loss.
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Then came the 2009 cup final against United, before another League Cup exit at Stoke in 2011, with young Massimo Luongo missing the decisive kick in a 7-6 defeat.
Spurs fans were fearing the worst when their Europa League quarter-final against FC Basel went to penalties in April 2013 – and, sure enough, Tom Huddlestone and Emmanuel Adebayor fluffed their lines as Andre Villas-Boas’ side went down 4-1.
However, the miserable sequence was ended last season as a 42-year-old Brad Friedel led Spurs to an epic 8-7 victory over Hull in the League Cup at the Lane.
Tottenham have still only won one shoot-out since 1994, when they beat Peterborough – but they won their last one and perhaps that is all that matters. Maybe the curse has been lifted.
Then again, Spurs missed their last penalty, against West Ham, on Sunday and Harry Kane wouldn’t get a second chance in a shoot-out. So maybe not…