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Who needs the FA Cup more?

50-50 Challenge
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 By Ben Pearce

Dele Alli, Son Heung-Min best as Palace end Tottenham's FA Cup run

If Tottenham go on to finish fourth or better in the Premier League in May, few will look back on this FA Cup exit with too much anguish. There is undoubtedly a silver lining in the loss to Crystal Palace -- fewer games in the run-in, and the chance to concentrate on the domestic title and continental success.

However, this was still a missed opportunity. It was a home tie against a side that had lost six of their previous nine games. While Spurs' rearguard was missing Hugo Lloris and Toby Alderweireld, they created more than enough chances at the other end to win the match, mustering 19 shots on goal, only to suffer a sucker punch as Martin Kelly struck the only goal of the game in first-half stoppage time.

Spurs are still on course for their best-ever Premier League finish, but the FA Cup also offered a realistic chance of a trophy and, had they progressed past Palace, Mauricio Pochettino's side would be facing Championship outfit Reading in the quarterfinals.

Tottenham HotspurTottenham Hotspur
Crystal PalaceCrystal Palace
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Player ratings (1-10; 10=best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):

GK Michel Vorm, 5 -- Failed to command his area, which caused some nervous moments at the back, particularly when he allowed a corner to pass three yards in front of his goalmouth, and he was beaten at his near post for the decisive goal.

DF Kyle Walker, 6 -- Narrowly escaped an own goal after heading the ball over Vorm, but drew one of the biggest cheers from the home crowd when he nutmegged ex-Spurs striker Emmanuel Adebayor.

DF Eric Dier, 6 -- Won some towering headers against Connor Wickham, but a couple of high balls were also allowed to bounce in or around Spurs' box and the centre-back had a brief inquest with his goalkeeper on one occasion.

DF Kevin Wimmer, 5 -- After some impressive displays, the Austrian seemed to miss Alderweireld's authority alongside him. He continues to over-commit himself unnecessarily on occasions and was partly culpable for the goal, as he and Danny Rose both focused on Wilfried Zaha and left the onrushing Kelly open.

DF Danny Rose, 6 -- Put in some full-blooded tackles and made some positive runs down the flank but, along with Wimmer, he should probably have done better for the goal.

MF Nabil Bentaleb, 6 -- Less involved than he was when he was a regular under Pochettino and his passing was a little rusty at times. Needs game time, but might struggle to get it.

MF Mousa Dembele, 6 -- Less dominant than usual and was withdrawn at half-time, which may have been planned to keep him fresh.

MF Son Heung-Min, 7 -- Threatened with some driving runs, notably when he created a first-half chance for Alli, and linked the play well. He just needs to provide more of an end product.

MF Dele Alli, 7 -- A consistent danger, seeing a header cleared off the line before unluckily hitting both posts with one shot in the first half. His low cross should have been finished off in the second period and a 25-yard effort went narrowly wide.

MF Josh Onomah, 6 -- Busy and bright, showing good movement and sending a snapshot wide in the first half before seeing an effort blocked in the closing stages. The 18-year-old could have done better with Alli's low cross at the back post, though.

FW Harry Kane, 6 -- Found space and chances hard to come by but did well with the opportunities he got, forcing smart low saves from Wayne Hennessey in each half.

Substitutes:

MF Christian Eriksen, 6 -- Replaced Dembele at half-time and got involved with Spurs' build-up play but was unable to hurt Palace in the final third.

MF Nacer Chadli, N/A -- Came on instead of Son, in another change which appeared to be planned before the game, and struggled to make an impact.

MF Ryan Mason, N/A -- Replaced Alli late in the game and had little time to make an impression.

Ben covers Spurs for Ham & High, the local weekly newspaper for Hampstead and Highgate, and the Hackney Gazette. Twitter: @BenPearceSpurs.

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