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Advantage Chelsea after first leg of semi-final - report and reaction

Chelsea 2-0 Spurs

Wed 05 January 2022, 21:38|Tottenham Hotspur

A stiff task awaits us in north London next midweek after two first half goals at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday evening gave Chelsea the advantage in our Carabao Cup semi-final.

In a first leg which saw our Head Coach Antonio Conte return to the club he managed for two years between 2016-18, we gave away two goals during a disappointing first period and, although we steadied the ship somewhat after the interval, we couldn’t find a way through to reduce the deficit.

The opener came after just five minutes when Marcos Alonso stole the ball deep inside our half and released Kai Havertz, whose effort struck Davinson Sanchez inside the six-yard box although the German was credited with the goal as his shot was on target anyway.

Chelsea’s second came with a huge slice of luck on 34 minutes when Japhet Tanganga met Hakim Ziyech’s free-kick into the box with a header, only for the ball to hit Ben Davies and go in.

Harry Kane’s 25-yard free-kick forced a save out of Kepa Arrizabalaga early in the second half and the Chelsea keeper denied Giovani Lo Celso late on, but they were our only shots on target and focus now turns to the second leg at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium next Wednesday to see if we can overturn the two-goal deficit.

Tough night at the Bridge

It was always going to be a difficult game at Stamford Bridge, but we didn’t help ourselves with a below-par first half display which was compounded by the concession of two poor goals. But in a strange way, we almost come away from west London feeling that it could have been worse and that the fact we only trail by two means there’s still hope in front of a full house in N17 next week.

Chelsea dominated the opening minutes and deservedly went ahead after five minutes, although it was a goal that could have been avoided as Tanganga’s pass out to Emerson Royal was intercepted by Alonso who broke forward and slipped a ball in for Havertz. His shot from the left corner of the six-yard box was heading in as it spun off Sanchez and hit the back of the net.

Havertz had another chance on 12 minutes when Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s hurried clearance hit Oliver Skipp and went straight to the Chelsea attacker but his angled drive from the left was saved down at his near post by Hugo Lloris. Ziyech fired over from 25 yards as the hosts continued to be the dominant force in the game, controlling possession and then closing us down so quickly when we did get the ball that we were unable to do anything of note with it.

After a while though, we started to slowly work our way into the contest and had short spells of possession, but just as we were gaining some confidence, we were hit with a devastatingly unfortunate goal in the 34th minute. Ziyech delivered a free-kick in from the right, Tanganga was in the right place to clear but his header hit the shoulder of Davies and flew into the net past Lloris.

The first half drew to a close with Romelu Lukaku glancing a header just wide but the opening minutes of the second period were far more positive for us. Tanguy Ndombele came on for Matt Doherty as we switched to a 4-3-3 formation and we had our first effort on goal in the 50th minute, Kane forcing Arrizabalaga into a diving save from his 22-yard free-kick. At the other end though, Lloris had to make a good save, standing tall to prevent substitute Timo Werner from beating him with an attempted lob from the edge of the area.

Chances at either end saw Lucas Moura and Ziyech both hit volleys well over the bar, while Tanganga sent a header up and over from a Royal free-kick with 10 minutes remaining. Our best chance of the game came in the 88th minute as two substitutes combined, Bryan Gil displaying some excellent wing play to skip away from Christian Pulisic down the left and his cut back was fired towards goal by Lo Celso but Arrizabalaga was there to deny him and Ndombele couldn’t pounce on the loose ball. The final opportunity fell to the home side deep into stoppage time, Lukaku snatching at a shot which allowed Lloris to save comfortably and perhaps all the missed chances for Chelsea will come back to haunt them in the second leg.

Team news saw Antonio make two changes to the team that started at Watford on New Year's Day, Tanganga and Doherty coming in for Eric Dier and Sergio Reguilon.

Reaction on Spurs TV

Highlights on Spurs TV

Chelsea 2-0 Spurs

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Arrizabalaga, Azpilicueta (c) (Vale 90), Rudiger, Sarr, Alonso, Jorginho, Saul (Loftus-Cheek 73), Ziyech (Pulisic 79), Mount (Kovacic 73), Havertz (Werner 46), Lukaku. Substitutes (not used): Bettinelli, Barkley, Hudson-Odoi, Hall.

Spurs (3-4-3): Lloris (c), Tanganga, Sanchez, Davies, Royal, Hojbjerg, Skipp (Winks 73), Doherty (Ndombele 46), Lucas (Bryan 80), Kane, Son (Lo Celso 80). Substitutes (not used): Gollini, Austin, Rodon, Reguilon, Dele.

Match data

Goals: Chelsea – Havertz 5, Davies (OG) 34.

Yellow card: Chelsea - Sarr.

Referee: Craig Pawson.

Venue: Stamford Bridge.

Weather: Clear sky, light winds, three degrees.

Attendance: 37,868.