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Chelsea v Spurs - Carabao Cup semi-Final (2), 24.01.2019

(Aggregate score 2-2
Chelsea win 4-2 penalties)

Chelsea scorers:-
Kante, 27
Hazard, 38

Spurs scorer:-
Llorente, 50

Attendance:- 38,610

Referee:- Martin Atkinson
Assistants:- Stephen Child and Lee Betts
Fourth Official:- Stuart Attwell
VAR:- Andre Marriner
AVAR:- Peter Kirkup

Chelsea (4-3-3):- Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta (Capt.), Rudiger, David Luiz, Emerson; Kante, Jorginho, Barkley (sub Kovacic, 81); Pedro (sub Willian, 76), Giroud, Hazard

Subs not used:- Caballero; Alonso, Piazon, Ampadu; Hudson-Odoi

Booked:- Jorginho (foul on Rose), Kante (foul on Rose), Azpilicueta (foul on Rose)

Spurs (4-3-3/3-4-3):- Gazzaniga; Aurier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen (Capt.), Davies (sub Rose, 33); Sissoko (sub Sanchez, 80), Dier, Winks; Lamela, Llorente (sub Lucas Moura, 68), Eriksen

Subs not used:- Lloris; Walker-Peters; Nkoudou, Skipp

Booked:- Sissoko (foul on Jorginho)

The Defiant Ones

“It’s happened again”, crowed Chelsea fans after their team had progressed to the Carabao Cup Final courtesy of the no away goals rule change and a winning penalty shoot-out. “Yid Army” shouted defiant Spurs fans as the two sets of supporters intermingled “cordially” on the Fulham Road after the game. The fact is that “IT” has happened again. Since beating Chelsea for our last trophy win on the same date – different month in 2008, we have lost two FA Cup semi-finals, one League Cup final, and now a League Cup semi-final to this team. Add to those defeats to Chelsea those in the 2009 Carling Cup Final (to Manchester United on penalties), and further FA Cup semi-final defeats to Portsmouth (2010), and to Manchester United last year and one wonders when Spurs will manage to win a domestic cup again.

The fact is that no team losing its two top goal scorers (Kane and Son), plus Dele Alli should have been expected to compete in this game. Spurs did compete, despite going two down in the first half, came back with an early second half goal, and worked like tigers to try and get a result. The Spurs players were as defiant as their fans, although ultimately not as penetrative or as clinical in that shoot-out as their West London rivals. It is always heart-breaking to lose these games, and to this opposition, but we just have to fight on. We’ve lost two more players (Davies and Sissoko) to injuries, and the next test is to compete in Sunday’s FA Cup fourth round tie at Selhurst Park on Sunday.

Llorente got the nod over the fit-again Lucas Moura, and Mauricio Pochettino rotated his full backs and played a 4-3-3 with Sissoko, Dier and Winks in the middle. The Chelsea team also had one two changes with Alonso on the bench, along with Willian, whilst Giroud acted as a target man for the “Blues”.

There were fireworks and a Stamford Bridge evening light show before kick-off, and Spurs were on the back foot for much of the first half as the hosts attacked the Shed End. Spurs failed to hold onto the ball in midfield after three minutes and Jorginho sent Pedro away. His shot was blocked by Alderweireld, who with captain Vertonghen, stood firm in the middle of defence for most of the game. Aurier and Davies were less effective defenders with Pedro on the right, supported by Azpilicueta and Hazard on the left giving spurs problems as the home side ploughed forward.

David Luiz needed treatment after 7 minutes, but recovered and carried on. Eric Dier was committing fouls left, right and centre, and conceding free kicks in dangerous areas, one of which was to prove telling against Spurs. Hazard took one such kick after 10 minutes and Barkley headed wide, but an offside flag had been raised anyway. Alderweireld was penalised for a foul on Hazard, and referee Martin Atkinson seemed to be indicating a “coming together”, but still gave the kick outside the area to the left, which Spurs defended well. Spurs were not testing the Chelsea keeper but they did at last win a couple of corners, both taken by Lamela on the left, and both less than effective.

Chelsea had corners too, and following one of these on 27 minutes the ball was cleared only as far as Kante lurking outside the area and his low shot passed through the legs of Dier and Sissoko, with Gazzaniga presumably partly unsighted and unable to stop the shot which went into the net off his legs too. Chelsea had another free kick out on the left and Ben Davies went down needing treatment. He had to be replaced by Danny Rose who went on to be Spurs man of the match with a great second half performance in particular. Hazard crossed from the left on 35 minutes, and Giroud met the ball at the near post, but could not get proper contact with Gazzaniga picking up the ball.

Dier was penalised again . This was near the halfway line with Barkley the victim. In the first half Spurs were too often tentative in dead ball situation s, but Chelsea k new how to take a quick free kick with Hazard taking the ball forward and feeding it out to the right via Pedro to Azpilicueta who crossed low with Hazard poking the ball into the net from the right of goal. Spurs actually nearly had a shot on target with Eriksen and Lamela working the ball to Aurier, who crossed with Lamela meeting the ball which ran wide of the keeper’s goal. In first half added time, Toby Alderweireld lost out to Hazard, but recovered magnificently to chase and successfully tackle the Chelsea player

Mauricio Pochettino switched to playing three at the back with Dier falling back, and Aurier and rose now becoming attacking wing-backs. Chelsea had an early corner, initially punched clear by Gazzaniga, before he saved a shot from Jorginho. Spurs had a corner on the left, taken by Eriksen and eventually worked to Alderweireld who hit a shot over the bar. Danny Rose had been involved in this more and soon had two great crosses. From the second of these Fernando Llorente stooped to meet the ball and beat Arrizabalaga with his header in side his left post in front of the ecstatic away fans.

I must be honest, I didn’t realise that the away goals rule had only just changed with regard to these games, but then that only came into play after extra time. Now there was no extra time and Spurs had to get another goal or face a penalty shoot-out – again of course without three key men who would have been takers.

Giroud had a right footed shot saved by Gazzaniga who got down comfortably to the ball. Danny Rose was the victim of a series of fouls, three of which led to bookings for Jorginho, Kante and the Chelsea captain Azpilicueta. Hazard had a chance for Chelsea after 57 minutes when the ball was worked from the right, but he fired wide. Llorente won a midfield header and fed the ball to Eriksen who put Lamela clear, but Erik had been flagged offside. Spurs’ best chance to get that crucial second goal came after 63 minutes. Gazzaniga hit a long clearance and Eriksen crossed from the right side, but Llorente could not quite reach out to meet the ball for what would have been a spectacular goal.

In truth, from there on in, Spurs were subject to Chelsea pressure, but we were defending well. Gazzaniga held Pedro’s shot. Llorente was replaced by Lucas Moura, but Lucas did not make an impact. Perhaps Fernando had got the nod on his ability to give Rudiger and David Luiz more problems. Lucas Moura was caught offside twice in his first involvements in the game. Lucas did meet a Gazzaniga clearance and beat the offside, but hit the side netting with his shot.

Moussa Sissoko finally got his first yellow card of the season for a challenge upon Jorginho. Hazard wanted a corner when his shot passed just outside Gazzaniga’s right post, but it was a goal kick. Willian replaced Pedro, and Davinson Sanchez had to replace the injured Sissoko, with Dier moving forward again. We had four minutes of added time, during which Giroud headed an Emerson cross wide.

So, we had the dreaded penalty shoot-out, which took place at the home end, with Spurs kicking first. Eriksen scored with a right foot shot right of the keeper, and Willian levelled sending Gazzaniga the wrong way. Erik Lamela also scored to the left of Arrizabalaga, with Azpilicueta taking responsibility next with a right footed shot. Gazzaniga again chose wrong. Next up for Spurs was Eric Dier who had been an England shoot-out hero last summer, but he failed dismally with a shot over the bar. Jorginho beat the Spurs keeper who was not going to match his Milton Keynes heroics against Watford, before Arrizabalaga dived well to his left to save from Lucas Moura. David Luiz sealed his team’s path to a final against Manchester City to make it a 4-2 shoot-out win.

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