Queens Park Rangers of England youngsters, Bright Osayi-Samuel and Eberechi Eze were both in action, as The Rs put up a battling show and edged into the FA Cup fifth round with victory over Portsmouth.
While Osayi-Samuel was on from the start at Griffith Park, London, he would later go off in the 72nd minute for fellow-Nigerian, Eze, who then played a yeoman’s role in helping the hosts to a 2-0 win.
Although Eze got only 18 minutes of action before the final whistle, the former Flying Eagles invitee was on top of his game and contributed a lot to his side’s quest for victory.
Eze, Osayi-Samuel and their pals were jubilant after the final whistle, as their efforts helped their coach, Steve McClaren earn a first ever victory over Pompey, and QPR hit the fifth round for the first time since 1997.
As a manager in all competitions, McClaren had faced Portsmouth more often than any other side without winning, but had four draws and three losses to show, which made Tuesday’s victory very symbolic for him.
At the same time, victory on Tuesday means QPR have now won two FA Cup games this season, as many as they had managed in their previous 26 games in the competition
It looked positive all the way for Eze, Osayi-Samuel et al, as Darnell Furlong went closest in the first half of Tuesday night’s replay, heading against the Pompey crossbar.
Wells then fired wide before Matt Smith headed down from a corner for the former to bundle in for the Championship side.
Smith then rose to head home from a Luke Freeman corner to end all of League One side, Portsmouth’s hopes, and gave The Hoops their first win in five games.
Wells broke the deadlock with his eighth goal of the season, and Smith headed home to secure a fifth-round tie at home to Watford on Friday, 15 February.
McClaren admitted afterwards: “Portsmouth made it difficult for us. We earned the right to play, though, and once we got the first goal it opened up for us and we got the job done.
“We put in a very good performance tonight. It took us a while to break them down but I’m delighted.
“The main thing is to create a team the fans are proud of and I think they will be.
“The FA Cup is all about creating memories and we’ve an opportunity to do that.
“Now we have a great tie to look forward to against Watford here, under the lights.”