Kyle Walker had no doubt Tottenham were on their way to Wembley when he saw Christian Eriksen running through on goal late on at Sheffield United.
Eriksen struck two minutes from time at Bramall Lane to settle a pulsating Capital One Cup semi-final in the Barclays Premier League side’s favour on Wednesday.
The Sky Bet League One Blades had battled back from a 2-0 aggregate deficit with two quickfire Che Adams goals in the second half of the second leg.
The prospect of extra-time loomed but Eriksen latched onto a fine pass from Harry Kane to level the scores at 2-2 on the night, thus settling the tie 3-2 on aggregate.
It was Eriksen’s second goal of the game, after a stunning first-half free-kick, and came as no surprise given the knack he is developing for scoring late winners.
In the last two months the Dane has scored in the last three minutes to decide games against Hull, Leicester, Sunderland and now Sheffield United.
England defender Walker said: “We always do everything the hard way at Tottenham, so we have not changed anything there, but the man again popped up at the end – he keeps doing it time and time again.
“When he gets there you put your house on him. It is very rare that he scuffs it or misses. He can keep doing it for me, every week.
“It is a fantastic feeling to get to Wembley with Tottenham and hopefully we can go and make history.”
Spurs went into the game with a 1-0 advantage and looked to be cruising towards a March 1 date with Chelsea at the national stadium when Eriksen curled in a superb free-kick after 28 minutes.
The Blades did create some opportunities but Spurs were dominant and carved out numerous chances for the likes of Kane and Erik Lamela.
Their failure to take any of them almost proved costly as United manager Nigel Clough, who has established a strong reputation for cup upsets over the past year, made an inspired substitution.
Adams, 18, recruited from non-league Ilkeston in November, was sent on in the 74th minute and by the 79th had scored twice, turning in crosses from Ryan Flynn and – thanks to a deflection – Jamie Murphy.
It almost got even better for United as another teenage substitute, Louis Reed, went through six minutes from time but he shot narrowly over.
Spurs made the most of that reprieve and Eriksen made no mistake when presented with his late winning opportunity.
Eriksen told Spurs TV: “We fought well and we were in a good position but they came back and gave a lot of pressure – but we have shown we can play under pressure and we showed that again. It is not the first time we have scored in the last minute.
“I think they slowed down a bit after they scored twice. I think they wanted extra-time but luckily we ended it before it came.
“I am really happy and really excited. After a few weeks we will prepare for the final. We have loads of games in between but it is a final and we want to win.”
Clough felt his side had learnt a lot from another prolonged cup run, having reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup last season.
Their knockout exploits might not be over yet, either, with an FA Cup fourth-round replay against Preston next week which could lead to a glamour tie against Manchester United.
Clough said: “I think it has given us a lot of belief that I think we have got to take on board to help us.
“The fact we have won away from home at West Ham, MK Dons, (Leyton) Orient – brilliant results – then to beat Southampton and draw 2-2 with Spurs, it all adds to the belief and the feeling in the club that everyone has that we are a club on the up.
“We are still in two competitions. We are still going for the league – the play-offs at least – and we have a huge cup tie in six days against Preston, with a right to play Manchester United (who face Cambridge in a replay at Old Trafford).
“That is the incentive now – get something off Swindon on Saturday and then try to beat Preston, see if we can get Manchester United down here. That is the aim, in the short term.”
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