Chelsea with one foot at Wembley as they beat Spurs 2-0 in League Cup semi-final 1st leg
By Paul Lagan at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea 2 v Spurs 0
Chelsea take a deserved 2-0 lead to Spurs’ ground next week with Wembley in their sights.
The Blues were the dominant force in their Carabao Cup 1st leg semi-final win at Stamford Bridge after Kai Havertz saw his goal-bound effort rebound off Davinson Sanchez and into the net while the home fans relished an own goal from Ben Davies.
The game was billed as the redemption of Romelu Lukaku but in truth, whenever Spurs are in town, they take top billing in terms of ire from the fans.
Spurs had Antonio Conte in charge of the visitors having being sacked by Chelsea in 2018, and the normally volatile Italian was subdued for much of the 90 minutes.
Lukaku had a fine chance within seconds of the start, but after racing into the Spurs penalty area, opted to pass to Havertz instead of taking a shot on goal.
But on five minutes, the Blues broke the deadlock. Marco Alonso pinched the ball off Japheth Tanganga on the left - hit the area before knocking the ball onto Havertz. The striker took a touch before firing the ball goal-bound. It beat Hugo Lloris but smacked off Sanchez and into the net.
A nice sweeping move after 18 minutes saw Hakim Ziyech try his luck from 30 yards. The left-footer was powerful, but the direction was slightly off.
Chelsea increased the lead in bizarre circumstances on 36 minutes. A Ziyech in-swinging free-kick from the right was met in the six-yard box by Tanganga’s header which zipped straight to Davies who saw the ball bounce off him and into the back of the Spurs net.
Lukaku should have made it three with four minutes left on the clock but his header was inches wide of Loris’s right post.
Timo Werner replaced Havertz at half time for Chelsea while Tanguy Ndombele replaced Doherty for Spurs.
The visitors started well while the Blues were were sloppy in their passing and distribution.
Kepa survived Spurs’ first shot on target, a Harry Kane free-kick, by parrying the ball away from the foot of his right post on 49 minutes.
A fantastic ball by Ziyech which bisected then Spurs defence was brilliantly pulled down by Werner. The German striker then attempted to lift the ball over the advancing Lloris, but the France stopper was having none of it, anticipated the angle and clutched the ball out of the air.
Thomas Tuchel brought on Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mateo Kovacic - Mason Mount and Saul were replaced.
Spurs responded with Harry Winks on for Oliver Skipp.
Three more substations followed, Giovanni Lo Celso and Bryan Gil on for Spurs, Son and Lucas Moura departed. Chelsea replaced Ziyech for Christian Pulisic.
Azpilicueta limped off with minutes left with a mild hamstring injury and was replaced by Harvey Vale.
Spurs need to be much better in the second leg if they are to progress to the final.
Teams: Chelsea, Kepa, Rudiger, Alonso, Jorginho, Lukaku, Saul, Mount, Ziyech, Azpilicueta, Sarr
Subs. Bettinelli, Kovacic, Pulisic, Werner, Loftus-Cheek, Barkley, Hudson-Odoi, Vale, Hall
Spurs: Lloris, Doherty, Hojbjerg, Sanchez, Son, Kane, Royal, Tanganga, Moura, Skipp, Davies
Subs: Reguilon, Winks, Gil, Rondon, Lo Celso, Alli, Gollini, Ndombele, Austin
Referee: Craig Pawson