LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 07: Gareth Bale of Tottenham is challenged by Lawrie Wilson of Stevenage during the FA Cup Fifth Round Replay between Tottenham Hotspur and Stevenage at White Hart Lane on March 7, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

FA Cup Fifth Round Replays: Chelsea And Tottenham Both Advance

Tottenham dispatched Stevenage 3-1 at White Hart Lane, but the victory came at the price of Michael Dawson, who was stretchered off the pitch with apparent ankle ligament damage.

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Tottenham Hotspur Vs. Stevenage, 2012 FA Cup Replay: Spurs Come From Behind In Comfortable Win

Tottenham Hotspur managed to advance to the quarterfinals of the FA Cup against Stevenage, but the victory came at a steep price. Having drawn 0-0 away in the original tie, Spurs would have nonetheless felt comfortable about their prospects for advancing, and not even an early penalty, conceded by Ryan Nelsen and converted by Joel Byrom, would have worried the hosts too much.

Distinctly more problematic, as far as Spurs are concerned, was a horrible ankle injury suffered by centre back Michael Dawson, who ended up stretchered off before the ten minute mark. Dawson's had a very rough season as far as injuries go, and rumblings of damaged ankle ligaments don't bode well for him (or Tottenham's depth in defence). His team was doing its thing, however, levelling via a long-range strike from Jermaine Defoe before halftime.

They were then hit with another injury, with Aaron Lennon forced off with a hamstring injury. That didn't stop Spurs going further ahead thanks to Gareth Bale earning a penalty, and despite some interesting Stevenage pressure Defoe was able to kill off the match entirely with a sweet right footed finish that curled past Chris Day and in at the far post. At 3-1, the jig was up, and the visitors knew it. As a result, the rest of the match was fairly quiet. The better side won, but Stevenage should be fairly proud of their performance over both of these games.


Birmingham City Vs. Chelsea, 2012 FA Cup: Di Matteo Has Perfect Debut

Though it wasn't exactly pretty or against the highest level of competition, Roberto Di Matteo's first match in charge of Chelsea FC went well. His team looked a bit poor in the first half of their FA Cup replay against Birmingham City at St. Andrews, but looked like the much better team in the second half as they eventually coasted to a 2-0 victory.

Juan Mata scored the opener 54 minutes in on a move that was more encouraging than just about everything that either team did in the first 45 minutes, even before the ball hit the net. Ramires created the chance with a cross, which fell to Daniel Sturridge. He couldn't get a shot off and Birmingham couldn't clear. With the ball bouncing around, Mata eventually stepped up and blasted the ball over the line to give his side the lead.

Raul Meireles scored the clinching goal six minutes later with an absolutely stunning strike. Branislav Ivanovic started the move by beating his man on the right and putting the ball into the box. A few touches around the box eventually resulted in Ramires laying off for Meireles, who ripped a brilliant strike into the net from 25 yards.

Fernando Torres drew a penalty in the 70th minute on a foul by Guiranne N'daw, but Mata didn't take a great spot kick and Colin Doyle was able to make a save. It would ultimately not matter, as Birmingham failed to score. Chelsea advance to host Leicester City in the FA Cup quarterfinals.

For more on the Blues from West London, check out Chelsea FC blog We Ain't Got No History.

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