The game was played at Stadium MK as Tottenham’s new stadium was still not ready to be used and their temporary home, Wembley Stadium, was unavailable as it had hosted an Anthony Joshua title fight the previous weekend.
Referee: Lee Mason Attendance: 23,650
For this odd occasion at Milton Keynes, Mauricio Pochettino made the local boy his captain. And within five minutes Alli was belting the length of the pitch to earn a corner. It was a run which drew nostalgic applause from the thousand or so MK Dons fans who, to add further to the oddness of the occasion, were stationed above the Watford contingent.
Javi Gracia had made even more changes, with Craig Cathcart the only survivor from the lineup that has started all six of Watford’s league games this season. But Watford, too, were eager to advance and Gracia introduced Christian Kabasele from the bench in the 77th minute to help protect their lead. Three minutes later the Belgian was on his way back off again, shown a red card after his challenge led to Alli tumbling to the floor. Alli got up to score from the penalty spot. Gracia was dismayed by the sending off – “I cannot understand this decision,” he said, before indicating that Watford would appeal against it.
If you want my personal opinion on playing at a neutral venue, I thought it was an absolute farce and makes a mockery of the whole competition. If you are entering a cup competition and you know full well you will not be able to fulfill a fixture, you either agree to reverse it and play away from home, or you don’t enter the competition at all.