Early goal ends hopes of a comeback as we bow out of Carabao Cup
Spurs 0-1 Chelsea (agg 0-3)
Wed 12 January 2022, 21:45|Tottenham Hotspur
Our Carabao Cup run ended at the semi-final stage on Wednesday evening as Chelsea knocked us out with a 3-0 aggregate victory.
An early goal for the Blues on the night put them well in control of the tie following their 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge last week, but we kept battling throughout the game and had two penalties overturned by VAR and a goal ruled out by the off-field officials as well - although we could have no arguments about all three decisions.
The visitors went ahead during a dominant opening first half hour, Antonio Rudiger getting to Mason Mount’s corner ahead of Pierluigi Gollini to head into the net. We thought we had a penalty on 40 minutes after Rudiger upended Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in the area, with referee Andre Marriner awarding a spot-kick, only for VAR to change it to a free-kick as the foul occurred just outside the box.
And another spot-kick was overturned 10 minutes into the second half, Kepa Arrizabalaga just getting to the ball ahead of Lucas Moura in the area and, although the referee pointed to the spot, he changed his decision after checking the incident on the pitchside monitor.
It really started to feel like it wasn’t our night when, on 63 minutes, Harry Kane had the ball in the back of the net but VAR ruled it out for offside and with that went any chance we had of working our way back into the tie.
Battling effort, but we fall short
Much of the pre-match discussion was about how we needed to make a fast start to put the pressure on Chelsea but we were unable to get any real spells of possession to do that as the visitors dominated early on.
We were awarded a seventh-minute free-kick which Kane hit straight into the wall and on 11 minutes, Gollini was called into action to keep out Romelu Lukaku’s effort after he had controlled Rudiger’s long ball from the back.
It was all Chelsea at this stage and Giovani Lo Celso slid in superbly to block Malang Sarr’s angled drive from the left as we continued to work hard to keep the Blues out. But on 18 minutes they took the lead, Mount whipping in a corner which Gollini came for but Rudiger got there in front of him and his header looped into the net off the underside of the crossbar. Our keeper then made a fine save on 23 minutes, diving to his left to push away Callum Hudson-Odoi’s 20-yard curler.
We came back into it in the final 15 minutes as we sensed an opportunity. Just after the half hour, a quick counter-attack saw Kane’s shot blocked by Andreas Christensen and the loose ball spun to Hojbjerg, his curling effort deflecting just wide. From the corner, Davinson Sanchez got a good flick on but Kane just couldn’t poke it home sliding in at the far post.
Five minutes before the break came the first VAR moment. Kane set Hojbjerg away down the right, Rudiger came across to challenge and as they moved into the box, the Dane went down and referee Marriner pointed to the spot. But a closer inspection by VAR showed the foul was just a yard outside the box and the decision was changed to a free-kick. Lo Celso’s set-piece hit the top of the Chelsea wall for a corner, which came to nothing.
And 10 minutes into the second half, we had another penalty awarded - and then just as quickly taken away. Kane did superbly well to race clear of two players on halfway, skip past another challenge and was into clear space. He then just overhit his pass for Lucas, who was beaten to the ball by Arrizabalaga rushing off his line, although the referee pointed to the spot. But Marriner was advised by VAR to check the incident on the pitchside monitor and duly overturned his initial decision.
We were on top in the game at this point and Royal forced Arrizabalaga into a diving save to keep out his header, before we had the ball in the net in the 63rd minute. Kane scored after we won the ball high up the pitch and he was played in by Lucas, but he was offside from the pass and it was ruled out by VAR.
It was a moment which knocked the stuffing out of us really and there was very little action of note in the final stages. The game was briefly stopped for a medical emergency in the stands and when play got back under way, substitute Ryan Sessegnon swept a shot goalwards that was deflected wide deep into stoppage time.
Team news saw Antonio Conte make six changes from the Morecambe game on Sunday - in came Gollini, Sanchez, Hojbjerg, Royal, Lucas and Kane for Hugo Lloris, Joe Rodon, Tanguy Ndombele, Sessegnon, Dele Alli and Bryan Gil.
Reaction on Spurs TV
'Tonight, we deserved better'
Speaking to Spurs TV after the second leg, Antonio Conte said: "Over two legs, Chelsea deserved to go to the final. But I think in the second leg tonight we deserved a better final result. We created many chances and the players played with a great intensity, with a will, a desire, not to lose the game. We were also a bit unlucky. I don’t like to use this word, but sometimes it can happen during the game, two penalties that were changed and a goal disallowed after VAR. Then, we had many chances to try to score. But at the end, I repeat, Chelsea deserved to reach the final, and we have to know this."
Spurs 0-1 Chelsea (agg 0-3)
Spurs (5-3-2): Gollini, Royal, Tanganga, Sanchez, Davies, Doherty (Sessegnon 65), Winks (Skipp 81), Hojbjerg, Lo Celso (Bryan 71), Lucas, Kane (c). Substitutes (not used): Lloris, Paskotsi, Rodon, White, Dele, Scarlett.
Chelsea (4-2-2-2): Kepa, Azpilicueta (c), Christensen (Thiago Silva 66), Rudiger, Sarr, Jorginho (Loftus-Cheek 82), Kovacic (Kante 77), Hudson-Odoi, Mount (Ziyech 66), Lukaku, Werner (Alonso 66). Substitutes (not used): Bettinelli, Saul, Havertz, Pulisic.
Goal: Chelsea - Rudiger 18.
Referee: Andre Marriner.
Venue: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Weather: Clear sky, light winds, 4 degrees.