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Liverpool, Spurs tumble in weekend of FA Cup upsets

Published: 6:51AM Monday January 28, 2013 Source: Reuters

Third-tier Oldham Athletic stunned seven-time FA Cup winners Liverpool with a shock 3-2 fourth-round win today and Leeds United caused another big upset by knocking out Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 at Elland Road.

Holders Chelsea were also heading for a surprise defeat at third-tier Brentford, until Fernando Torres hit a late equaliser to salvage a 2-2 draw.

Defeat for Liverpool and Spurs took the number of Premier League casualties losing to lower-division opponents in the last 32 to five, following defeats for Norwich City, Queens Park Rangers and Aston Villa.

Oldham, languishing in 19th place in League One, were irresistible in front of their own fans at Boundary Park, going ahead with a Matt Smith header in the second minute.
Luis Suarez levelled, but Smith's second and a third goal from Reece Wabara made it 3-1 after 48 minutes.

Joe Allen's deflected volley with 10 minutes left gave Liverpool hope, but despite relentless pressure, they could not find another, with Steven Gerrard rattling the crossbar from long range.

Goals from Luke Varney and Ross McCormack put second-tier Leeds, Cup winners in 1972, in control against Spurs, with Clint Dempsey's header not enough to save the Londoners.

Vastly improved

Much-maligned Spanish striker Torres swept home on 83 minutes to secure a replay for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

The Spaniard swept home to secure a replay, as Chelsea, who missed out on one Wembley appearance after losing over two legs to Swansea City in the Capital One (League) Cup semi-finals, twice needed to come from behind at Griffin Park.

"I was pleased with the reaction of the players, we were much better in the second half," Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez said.

"We knew what Brentford were capable of and they did it well, so credit to them, but we need to do our job in the replay.

"It's important to do well in every competition. the FA Cup is massive, but we also need to finish in the top four."

After becoming the first Champions League holders to exit at the group stage and 11 points off top spot in the Premier League, Chelsea's path to silverware this season rests with the Europa League or with the FA Cup, a trophy they have lifted in four of the last six seasons.

Torres, a pale shadow of the striker that Chelsea paid a British transfer record fee of 50 million pounds (NZ$95 million) for in 2011, kept the Cup holders in the hat for the fifth-round draw, when he took a pass from substitute Demba Ba and beat goalkeeper Simon Moore with a precise finish.

Brentford, pushing for promotion to the second tier of English football and managed by former Manchester City striker Uwe Rosler, had harried their more illustrious London rivals and denied them space for much of an enthralling game.

Sharper to the ball in the opening period, they led late in the first half, when Chelsea keeper Ross Turnbull, deputising for the rested Petr Cech, could only parry a shot into the path of Marcello Trotta and the on-loan Italian striker lashed in.

Chelsea were vastly improved after the break and equalised on 55 minutes, when a clearance fell to Oscar on edge of box and with his back to goal, the Brazilian turned and found space inside the area to prod a right foot shot home.

The Premier League side were on top at this stage, but Brentford did not buckle and appeared to be on their way to one of the biggest ever shocks in the competition, when Turnbull sent Tom Adeyemi sprawling in the penalty area.

Harry Forrester coolly slotted in the spot kick on 73 minutes to give Brentford a 2-1 lead, but Torres, inconsistent and forlorn for much of the season, was to have the final word to force a replay at Stamford Bridge.

Fifth-round draw

Huddersfield Town (II)/Leicester City (II) v Wigan Athletic

Milton Keynes Dons (III) v Barnsley (II)

Oldham Athletic (III) v Everton

Luton Town (ML) v Millwall (II)

Arsenal v Blackburn Rovers (II)

Manchester City v Leeds United (II)

Manchester United v Reading

Middlesbrough (II) v Brentford (III)/Chelsea

Fixtures to be played over weekend of February 16/17