Fernando Llorente was Tottenham's hat-trick hero as it hammered League Two Tranmere Rovers 7-0 in the third round of the FA Cup. 

As on its previous trip to Merseyside before Christmas – a 6-2 rout of Everton – Mauricio Pochettino's side was in a clinical mood, although it had to wait until five minutes before half-time for Serge Aurier to spectacularly open the scoring. 

The resistance Tranmere mustered before the interval dissipated afterwards as Spurs ran riot, with Llorente opening his account before Aurier completed an unlikely brace in the 55th minute. 

Son Heung-min made it seven in his past six outings and two goals in as many minutes completed a treble for Llorente, whose replacement Harry Kane then got in on the act.

Tranmere goalkeeper Scott Davies made good early saves from Son and Lucas Moura but had no chance when Aurier dispossessed James Norwood and lashed home an unstoppable swerving strike from 25 yards. 

Aurier was involved again as Tottenham doubled its lead three minutes into the second half. The former Paris Saint-Germain defender's clever flick sent Son into space down the right and his low cross was slotted in by Llorente. 

Harvey Gilmour saw Aurier deflect his half-volley behind from Norwood's flick-on before the Spurs wing-back resumed activities in the Tranmere box, firing through Davies and the efforts of Mark Ellis on the line following a fabulous turn and lay-off from Son.


The South Korea star – who has delayed his arrival for duty at the Asian Cup – then glided towards and beyond a flagging Tranmere backline to clip home number four before the hour. 

Tottenham was running through its full repertoire and Oliver Skipp's fine throughball allowed Llorente to peel away from Steve McNulty and finish in the 71st minute. 

In the blink of an eye, the former Spain striker grabbed his third – stealing in front of Emmanuel Monthe to convert Lucas' cross. 

Kane's introduction was hardly what Tranmere wanted and his unerring strike from Dele Alli's pass completed a comfortable outing for the Premier League club.

What does it mean? Spurs avoid a repeat of last season's FA Cup trails 

Tottenham was forced into replays by Newport County and Rochdale in this competition last year but such struggles looked unlikely even before Aurier's spectacular opener.

Pochettino has made no secret of prioritising Premier League and Champions League commitments but Spurs' cup pedigree is becoming increasingly impressive. It was FA Cup semifinalist in each of the past two seasons and faces Chelsea at the same stage of the EFL Cup next.


Son has been directly involved in 12 goals in his past six games for Tottenham in all competitions. PHOTO: AFP


Aurier returns with double delight 

Since joining in August 2017, Aurier has not always convinced, while Kieran Trippier's superb development last season was something of a hindrance. However, having spent nearly a month on the sidelines with a groin injury, the Ivory Coast international relished meeting Tranmere's combative approach head on. If you see a better goal than his first during third-round weekend, you'll have witnessed an absolute stunner. 

Rovers heavyweight McNulty left on the ropes 

Tranmere captain McNulty is a cult hero with good reason – the defender's assured reading of the game and sure touch demonstrate his grounding as a member of Liverpool's academy setup. But errors and missteps peppered his display here, with Son and Lucas' livewire running proving too much to handle. 

Key Opta facts

- This was Tottenham’s biggest margin of victory in a competitive match since it beat Wigan Athletic 9-1 in the Premier League in November 2009, and its biggest in the FA Cup since it beat Crewe Alexandra 13-2 in a fourth round replay in February 1960.
- Both of Tranmere Rovers’ heaviest ever defeats in the FA Cup have now come against Spurs (9-1 in January 1953).
- Tottenham has already won as many away matches in all competitions this season (13 wins from 18 matches) as it managed in the entirety of 2017-18 (13 of 26).
- Son has been directly involved in 12 goals in his past six games for Tottenham in all competitions (seven goals, five assists), as many as his previous 31 combined prior to this.

What's next? 

The first game of an EFL Cup semifinal doubleheader against Chelsea awaits Tottenham in midweek, before Manchester United visits Wembley in Premier League action. Tranmere, meanwhile, is back in league action away to Cheltenham Town next Saturday.