Ten-strong Millwall inflicted one of the biggest upsets of this year’s FA Cup with a 1-0 victory over Premier League champions Leicester City on Saturday (February 18), setting up a London derby with Tottenham Hotspur in the quarter final.
The Lions claimed their third Premier League scalp of the competition after beating Bournemouth and Watford in previous rounds as Shaun Cummings’ last-minute winner sent the Premier League champions crashing out in the fifth round of the competition.
Millwall, 33 places behind Leicester in the English football system, have reached the last eight of the competition for only the third time in 32 seasons.
The game was far from plain sailing for the Lewisham side as defender Jake Cooper was sent off early in the second half leaving the likelihood of another Premier League upset looking unlikely.
However, the sending off changed the game dramatically; it was Millwall who capitalised and were the superior side for the remainder of the game. London-born Jamaican international Cummings slotted home a dramatic winning goal in the dying minutes of the game as he controlled Lee Gregory’s pass before dancing through the static Leicester defence and sliding his shot past the helpless Foxes’ keeper.
Millwall coach Neil Harris spoke at the final whistle, saying: “When we went to 10 men it galvanised us. There was more pressure on Leicester. I made attacking changes to win the game because neither of us wanted a replay. When we needed that bit of quality Shaun Cummings provided it.”
Leicester dominated possession throughout (65%) but were wasteful in front of goal, Shinji Okazaki was twice denied by Millwall keeper Jordan Archer, before Demarai Gray and Jamie Vardy had shots that failed to trouble the English shot stopper. Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri was critical of his side following the defeat.
He said: “I am very disappointed. We played well in the first half, so-so at the beginning of the second until it went to 10 v 11. After then they played better than us, with more desire and heart and deserved to win.
The result was Millwall’s first victory over the reigning English top-flight champions since a 3-1 win over Huddersfield Town in the FA Cup in 1927. Harris said: “I thought the atmosphere was electric. The noise was phenomenal. These are special days for us. The fans feed off the players and players off the fans.”
Millwall face Tottenham Hotspur in the Quarter Final of the FA Cup at White Hart Lane on Saturday 11 March.