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Spurs hit six as VAR dominates

Fernando Llorente scored a hat-trick as Tottenham cruised to the FA Cup quarter-finals with a 6-1 win over Rochdale in a replay littered with VAR controversy at Wembley.

After Erik Lamela had an opener controversially disallowed in the snowy conditions by VAR, Heung-Min Son put Spurs ahead (23) with a finish from inside the box.

Spurs were then given a penalty, eventually awarded by VAR, but Son’s successful finish was penalised by referee Paul Tierney, seemingly for a stuttered end to his run-up, despite differing interpretations to the rule.

Stephen Humphrys levelled for Rochdale (31), who hit the post before the break, but Spurs gained a three-goal cushion through Llorente’s quick-fire hat-trick (47, 53, 59) after the break.

Son’s close-range finish made it 5-1 with 25 minutes remaining, before substitute Kyle Walker-Peters added a sixth (90+3), with Spurs’ reward a trip to Swansea on March 17.

The VAR, Graham Scott, in Stockley Park was in use in just the seventh minute as Lamela struck home from close range, but replays showed Llorente had tugged Harrison McGahey’s shirt in the box as referee Tierney ruled it out.

Lucas Moura then looked to have been brought down in the box by McGahey, but despite a VAR check, Tierney waved play on. Son finally put Spurs ahead from 15 yards shortly after via Lamela’s assist.

Wembley then descended into confusion as Kieran Trippier was fouled on the edge of the box by Matt Done, but after deliberation with the VAR, Tierney awarded a penalty, deeming that the foul continued inside the box.

Rochdale then equalised moments later through Humphrys, converting from close range from Andy Cannon’s fine ball as Spurs were caught sleeping, before Cannon himself hit the post with a low drive in first-half stoppage time.

However, Spurs came out in the second half and steam-rolled the League One side, taking the lead through Llorente’s lifted finish over Josh Lillis, and he got his second goal six minutes later, poking home from Lucas’ fine assist.

Llorente completed his 13-minute hat-trick with a close-range header from Son’s lifted cross at the byline, and the South Korean turned goalscorer shortly after, tapping into an empty net from Lamela’s unselfish ball across goal.

Lamela hit the post with a late free-kick, but there was still time for Walker-Peters to grab his first Spurs goal in stoppage time, nudging under Lillis after a one-two with Dele Alli.

Spurs now host Huddersfield on Saturday in the Premier League, before the second leg of their Champions League last-16 clash with Juventus at Wembley on Wednesday, with the score at 2-2. Rochdale host Plymouth on Saturday in League One.

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