A recap of how Exeter earned an FA Cup 3rd round replay vs Liverpool
The magic of the FA Cup has brought up many shocks in all rounds of the competition over the years, but if Exeter had managed to beat Liverpool in the 3rd round last night, it would’ve been up there with the biggest in history.
Liverpool sat 76 league places above Exeter at the game’s kick off, but manager Jurgen Klopp had fielded an almost unrecognizable starting XI, with just 34 appearances all season between them- and 21 of those belonging to Christian Benteke.
Jose Enrique made a return to the side, along with Thiago Illori, who made a make-shift cente-back partnership, put together with desperation due to the severe injuries in the side at the moment.
The decisions behind the team almost proved costly for Klopp, as at half time they were 2-1 down to the league 2 side. They were 1-0 down after 9 minutes, with eventual man of the match Tom Nichols squeezing Exeter ahead. Jerome Sinclair equalised 3 minutes later however, and the game was level until just before half time, when Lee Holmes scored directly from a corner, with Liverpool goalkeeper Adam Bogdan completely misjudging the delivery.
Liverpool had to rely on left-back Brad Smith bringing them level again, but overall Exeter were comfortable in the match, and have earned a well-deserved replay at Anfield later on in the competition.
Despite not going straight through, Jurgen Klopp still seemed relatively pleased with how his ‘kids’ had performed, telling the BBC,
“It’s obvious what we have to learn in the future. We have to be more robust. It was a difficult pitch. Exeter did really well. Maybe they know which part of the pitch you can play football. It was really difficult for us today. On one-on-one situations they were more robust than our guys.
“The first goal was unlucky for us – it was their first attack. I won’t say anything about the second goal – they showed it live on the BBC. I can’t believe we have to play another game now. You want it like this, so we will be there.”
While Exeter boss Paul Tisdale said,
“I’m a football manager and I want to win games. When you’re 2-1 up and defending a lead with 10 minutes to go then you’re disappointed. But we got a draw against a very good side and have a replay at Anfield. We have no investor so every penny counts. At the end of the day we’ve put on a really good show.”
The date for the replay is yet to be confirmed, but both teams are officially in the hat for the 4th round draw on Monday, which will take place on BBC’s The One Show from 7pm on Monday night.
By Ben Kelly – @benkelly_10