Lincoln, Millwall spring upsets of historic proportions

Minnows slay far bigger clubs to reach FA Cup quarter-finals


Afp February 19, 2017
PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON: Non-league Lincoln City and third-tier Millwall struck late, late winners as Burnley and Premier League champions Leicester City were humbled on a historic day in the FA Cup on Saturday.

Sean Raggett scored an 89th-minute header as Lincoln, who reside in the fifth-tier National League, stunned Burnley 1-0 in the fifth round in one of the competition's biggest upsets.

Ten-man Millwall, seventh in League One, claimed a third top-flight scalp in this season's tournament by dramatically sinking ailing Leicester 1-0 via a 90th-minute goal by Shaun Cummings.

"I'm lost for words. It's mad. I can't believe it!" Lincoln's match-winner Raggett, 23, told BT Sport. "Crazy. A non-league side in the quarter-finals, in modern football. It's unheard of."

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Pep Guardiola's Manchester City face an unwanted replay after drawing 0-0 at Championship high-fliers Huddersfield Town, three days out from their Champions League last 16 showdown with Monaco.

"It is not frustrating," said Guardiola. "It was a tough game against one of the best teams in the Championship."

Eighty-one places below Burnley in the English football pyramid, Lincoln prevailed at Turf Moor when centre-back Raggett squeezed a header over the line following a late corner.

East Midlands club Lincoln, nicknamed 'The Imps', become the first non-league team to reach the FA Cup's last eight since Queens Park Rangers in 1914.

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They are the eighth side from below England's four fully professional divisions to have beaten top-flight opposition since World War II and only the second to have done so since 1989.

"We said it was a one-in-a-100 chance and thankfully we got that opportunity," said Lincoln manager Danny Cowley.

"The last eight of the FA Cup sounds pretty good. We work hard on our corners and our free-kicks and we are mightily proud of the players."

Burnley drew 1-1 at home to Chelsea last weekend and have beaten Liverpool and Leicester on home turf this season.

Lincoln join Hereford United, who toppled Newcastle United in 1972, and Sutton United, conquerors of Coventry City in 1989, among the ranks of the FA Cup's non-league giant-killers.

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Burnley manager Sean Dyche made six changes and it was quickly clear that his side were in for a scrap as Lincoln's Nathan Arnold squared for Jack Muldoon to sweep a first-time shot over the bar.

The home side procured the clearer chances thereafter, but could not take them, and with a replay beckoning Lincoln's moment of history arrived.

Sam Habergham's deep corner from the right was headed back across goal by Lincoln captain Luke Waterfall and Raggett met it with a header that Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton could not keep out.

"They used everything they needed to use," Dyche told the BBC. "You have to work, be diligent and believe you will get another chance. I think they only had one chance — credit to them. My team were nowhere near the level they can show."

Millwall followed Lincoln's lead by overcoming the 52nd-minute dismissal of Jake Cooper to sink a Leicester team showing 10 changes thanks to defender Cummings's last-gasp strike.

"This sums up the FA Cup," said Millwall manager Neil Harris, whose team have also accounted for Bournemouth and Watford. "We took inspiration from what Lincoln have done. What they achieved today outshines us."

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri, whose side sit one place above the Premier League relegation zone, said he was "very disappointed".

"We are better than Millwall, but Millwall deserved to win," said the Italian.

Middlesbrough needed an 86th-minute Cristhian Stuani goal to secure a 3-2 win over third-tier Oxford United, who had hit back from 2-0 down to level through Chris Maguire and Antonio Martinez.

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