- Tottenham Hotspur beat Watford 1-0 in English FA Cup fourth round tie
- Rafael van der Vaart scores winning goal to put Spurs in last 16
- Veteran Carlo Cudicini with key saves for Premier League side
- Everton beat Fulham 2-1 in all-Premiership clash
Tottenham Hotspur survived a testing encounter at second-flight Watford to progress to the last 16 of the English FA Cup with a 1-0 win Friday.
Rafael van der Vaart's long-range strike just before halftime proved the difference but veteran goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini had to make a number of superb saves to keep the visitors in front.
Tottenham were missing Gareth Bale, who scored a superb goal in their last-gasp 3-2 defeat against Manchester City last Sunday and showed little of the form that has made them title contenders in the English Premier League this season.
Watford had given Tottenham some uncomfortable moments before Dutch star van der Vaart found space to unleash a shot which home goalkeeper Scott Loach might have tipped away.
Luka Modric, who was below his best, was replaced by Aaron Lennon for the second half, but still Tottenham could not dominate with their usual passing game.
Cudicini came to their rescue when he stretched to get the merest fingertip on youngster Sean Murray's curling shot which hit the post. Troy Deeney fluffed the follow-up with the goal gaping.
Van der Vaart rattled the crossbar at the other end before Watford again came close as John Eustace hit the woodwork with a header from a corner.
Still the home side pressed forward and Nyron Nosworthy force Cudicini into a reaction save and Kyle Walker blocked Marvyn Sordell's follow up.
So relief at the end for Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp, who came to the match straight from his trial in a London court on tax evasion charges.
"Full credit to Watford tonight, they were superb," Redknapp told ESPN. "We were well below our best but I'm pleased we have gone through."
In Friday's other fourth round game, Everton had to come from behind to beat fellow English Premier League side Fulham 2-1 at Goodison Park.
A goal 17 minutes from time from Everton's Belgian international midfielder Marouane Fellaini sealed their passage to the last 16.
Fulham had gone ahead through a first half penalty from Danny Murphy but Everton leveled as Argentine Denis Stracqualursi scored his first goal for the club.
Saturday's big clash in the FA Cup pits Premier League champions Manchester United against arch-rivals Liverpool.