Chelsea see off Tottenham to set up Carabao Cup final against Arsenal or Liverpool


Antonio Rudiger celebrates scoring for Chelsea in Carabao Cup semi-final over Tottenham
Chelsea cruised into the Carabao Cup final with victory over Tottenham (Picture: Getty)

Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea booked their place in the Carabao Cup final with a convincing 1-0 (3-0 agg) victory over last year’s runners-up Tottenham.

Already trailing 2-0 from the semi-final first leg, Spurs had a mountain to climb as Antonio Rudiger beat Pierluigi Gollini to an early corner to extend Chelsea’s lead at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

It was an intensely frustrating evening for Antonio Conte’s men, who had a pair of penalty decisions overturned by VAR either side of the half-time break. England captain Harry Kane also had a goal ruled out for offside in the 63rd minute.

Visitors Chelsea, looking to build on their Champions League success last term, held firm to reach the League Cup final for a ninth time in their history and the result sets up a clash against either Arsenal or Liverpool.

Attentions now turn to the second all-Premier League semi-final which begins at Anfield on Thursday night.

The final of this year’s competition is due to take place at Wembley on February 27.

FBL-ENG-LCUP-TOTTENHAM-CHELSEA
Tuchel outwitted Conte in north London (Picture: Getty)

The first real chance of the game fell to Romelu Lukaku in the 11th minute as Rudiger played an inviting lofted ball through the middle of the pitch, with Ben Davies caught ball-watching.

Gollini – starting in place of Hugo Lloris – stood strong and denied Lukaku’s resulting strike to keep Spurs’ faint hopes alive, but the hosts’ stand-in goalkeeper undid his good work just moments later.

The Italy international completely misjudged Mason Mount’s 18th-minute corner while charging out of his goal with both fists and an unmarked Rudiger directed the ball home off his back to extend Chelsea’s advantage.

Antonio Rudiger scores for Chelsea against Tottenham in the Carabao Cup
Gollini’s moment of madness gifted Chelsea an early goal (Picture: Getty)

The Blues – five-time winners of the competition – came close to finding their second of the evening as the impressive Callum Hudson-Odoi picked out the corner with a curling effort from range, but Gollini parried the ball to safety to partly make amends for his earlier error.

Spurs’ most threatening period of the opening 45 minutes came around the half-hour mark as Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg missed with a deflected strike before Harry Kane came agonisingly close to diverting the ball home from point-blank range.

Hosts Tottenham had looked to have been handed a lifeline as referee Andre Marriner pointed to the penalty spot with five minutes remaining of the first half.

However, a VAR check showed Rudiger had fouled Hojbjerg outside the box and Giovani Lo Celso failed to test Kepa Arrizabalaga’s goal with the subsequent free-kick.

Harry Kane celebrates before having Tottenham goal disallowed against Chelsea
Kane had a goal disallowed just past the hour-mark (Picture: Getty)

Just ten minutes into the second period, Spurs had another spot-kick decision reversed after Lucas Moura was stopped in his tracks by an onrushing Kepa.

The Chelsea shot-stopper was apoplectic after Marriner initially awarded Tottenham a penalty, but replays showed he had clearly made contact with the ball and the correct call was eventually made.

Kepa was at the heart of the action once again on the hour-mark, saving a powerful header from Emerson Royal, before Kane had a goal disallowed for offside.

There was some concern in the closing stages of the match as a medical emergency in the crowd forced play to be put on hold, with eight minutes of stoppage time added on by Marriner.

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‘We’re happy with the result. In the first half we were the better team and we deserved to be up,’ Chelsea head coach Tuchel told BBC Sport shortly after the final whistle.

‘But we lost concentration and lost focus in the last 15 minutes of the first half and again in the second half. We were almost punished for lack of focus.

‘We played at 90 per cent and that’s not our style – we shouldn’t do this.

‘We had to work hard and it was not our best performance – we were better in the first leg.’

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