The third round of the FA Cup is considered special in England. The round in which teams from the lower leagues start to pitch their wits against more sophisticated opponents. One of such was the visit of Wolves of the Championship to the home of Stoke City of the Premier League.
A Helder Costa shot and brilliantly whipped free-kick late in the second half by Matt Doherty gave the Midlands club a shock two-nil victory. However, man of the match was Super Eagles goalkeeper Carl Ikeme who pulled off stunning saves to keep Stoke out. Ikeme spoke to supersport.com.
How did you guys pull that off? “To be honest the manager (Paul Lambert) had told us to be prepared for an onslaught but that when we have possession we should also give it a go and see what happens.”
Ikeme was so good that his many saves were highlighted on Match of the Day BBC programme for the round. Which of the saves do you remember? “I just wanted to keep the ball out of my net any which way. I will leave the pundits and others to judge which one was the best.”
Stoke’s third round defeat is even remarkable as it is the first time they have been knocked out at this stage since 2009/10 season. So Carl, is this the Lambert effect? “Yeah, since he’s come into the job he has created a good atmosphere for all of us to work in. He demands hardwork in training and during games and the lads have bought into it. Long may it continue.”
After what seemed a long time Ikeme signed a new deal recently to keep him at Molineux for another two and a half years. With all his experience does he still think ‘The Magic of the FA Cup’ exists? “Still does for me. I remember how as a kid I used to watch like five to six hours of all the programmes of the FA Cup final day. There’s a different buzz about the FA Cup definitely.”
It was not a bad weekend for Nigerians all round as Ahmed Musa scored both goals as English Premier League champions Leicester came from behind to knock out Everton at Goodison Park. Compatriot Wilfred Ndidi made his debut for the Foxes. In Cardiff, Sone Aluko’s Fulham knocked out Cardiff City.