Spurs shocker leaves Blues with one foot in the final

Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur – Carabao Cup semi-final first-leg – Stamford Bridge – Report

Chelsea 2-0 Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur faces an uphill task to reach this season’s Carabao Cup final after they gifted capital rivals, Chelsea a two-goal first-leg advantage following a dismal performance at Stamford Bridge.

Much of the pre-match patter circled Antonio Conte’s return to Stamford Bridge and Romelu Lukaku’s much-publicised interview with Sky Italia, suggesting his unhappiness with the Blues.

Tottenham’s recent improvement under the former Chelsea boss suggested perhaps a little more could be expected from their trip to a traditional unhappy hunting ground. But while Lukaku and Tomas Tuchel let bygone be bygones, Spurs discovered that some things never change.

Spurs simply weren’t at the races. Japhet Tanganga’s misplaced pass was intercepted by Marcos Alonso, who in turn sent Kai Havertz away to score, despite the attentions of Davinson Sanchez on the line. 

It was a timid start from Spurs. Hakim Ziyech forced Hugo Lloris into a smart save low to his right after the North Londoners again had made a hash of clearing their lines. Soon after, the Moroccan sent another attempt over the top as Chelsea – tenacious – looked to press home their early domination.

Just after the half-hour mark, Tottenham’s troubles deepened. Tanganga was again at fault, heading Ziyech’s centre against Ben Davies and past the stranded Lloris. Conte stood shaking his head in disbelief. Spurs two behind, all of their own making.

Romelu Lukaku passed up a glorious opportunity to kill the tie, heading wide after the busy Ziyech had centred – The Tottenham backline parting like the waves as the returning frontman arrived completely unchallenged.

Matt Doherty was sacrificed for Tanguay Ndombele as Conte looked to change the dynamics of the contest. Meanwhile, Harry Kane’s dead-ball attempt was turned aside by Kepa as the visitors finally offered a threat of their own. Ziyech fired directly at Lloris, while substitutes Timo Werner sent an angled effort fizzing the wrong side of an upright as the status quo was swiftly restored.

 Despite Tottenham’s obvious improvement, Chelsea continued to look the more likely. Lloris clawed away Werner’s lifted attempt after the German had found himself in the clear. Lucas Moura hooked over – the Lilywhites attacking toil both desperate and sporadic.

Bryan Gil’s trickery deserved better after the former Sevilla man skipped in from the left. However, on this evidence, it is difficult to see Spurs recovering from the situation they find themselves in, come next Wednesday’s second leg in N17.

Spurs now turn their attention to the Emirates FA Cup where they face Morecambe at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday, January 9 (2pm).

Chelsea: Arrizabalaga, Azpilicueta (Capt) (Vale 89′), Rudiger, Sarr, Alonso, Mount (Kovacic 72′), Jorginho, Saul (Loftus-Cheek 72′), Ziyech (Pulisic 79′), Lukaku, Havertz (Werner 46′) Subs not used: Bettinelli, Barkley, Hudson-Odoi, Hall

Booked: Malang Sarr (foul)

Goals: Kai Havertz 5′, Ben Davies (own-goal) 34′

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris (Capt), Royal, Tanganga, Sanchez, Davies, Doherty (Ndombele 46′), Hojbjerg, Skipp (Winks 72′), Lucas (Gil 79′), Son (Lo Celso 79′), Kane

Subs not used: Gollini (GK), Austin, Rodon, Reguilon, Dele

Booked: None

Goals: None

Referee: Craig Pawson

Assistant Referees: Marc Perry and Neil Davies

Fourth Official: Kevin Friend

VAR: Jarred Gillett

AVAR: Lee Betts

Advertisement

Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]