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  • Writer's pictureBy Paul Lagan at the Brentford Community Stadium

Quality substitutes make all the difference as Blues sting the Bees 2-0 to reach league Cup semi

By Paul Lagan at Brentford Community Stadium

Brentford 0 v Chelsea 2

An own goal and a Jorginho penalty within a five-minute second half spell were enough to end the stubborn resistance of Brentford at their Community Stadium as the boys from SW6 progressed into the semi-final of the League Cup, winning 2-0.

Class tells, or so they say and when Chelsea could afford to bring on superstars like N’Golo Kante, Jorginho, Christian Pulisic and Reece James, then you know their performance will improve 100 per cent.

And so it proved tonight.

Thomas Tuchel made eight changes from the weekend draw with Wolves, with three making their debuts in Blue, Harvey Vale, Xavier Simons and Jude Soonsup-Bell.

All three were eventually sacrificed for their illustrious team-mates, but they did their duty.

They kept the Blues in the game in the first half, allowing head coach Tomas Tuchel to execute his game plan of substitutions to perfection.

The first attack fell invitingly to the home side on 12 minutes. Malang Sarr produced a stupid cross-field ball that was intercepted and the Bees were quick on the counter-attack.

The ball was clipped over from the left byline and Yanez Wissa was free at the far post. But his header was poorly directed while Kepa was alert enough to parry te gal-bound effort wide.

A quick break by Chelsea on 16 minutes involving Jude Soonsup-Bell saw the ball fed to in-running Ross Barkley, but the England midfielder could only scoop his left-footer from the edge of the Brentford penalty area well wide.

Kepa was again the saviour of the champions of Europe when, on 31 minutes he once again parried away a goal-bound header at his far post.

This time it was from Mathias Jensen.

Chelsea’s first effort on goal came on 40 minutes with a Barkley pile-driver - Fernandez snaffled the ball well.

Seconds later and Rico Henry got free on the left for the Bees. But Kepa was earning his cash with another fine save, this time deflecting away a low drive at his near post for a corner.

The last action of the half should have seen the Blues tale the lead when a deep Cesar Azpilicueta right wing cross was met by Harvey Vale but he could only place his unchallenged header straight at Fernandez.

Thomas Tuchel replaced Mateo Kovacic with Jorginho at hat-time along with Soonsup-Bell who was replaced by Christian Pulisic.

Fernandes did well to maintain the 0-0 scoreline on 53 minutes when a left byline cross bounced off the back of Henry. Fernandez dived acrobatically down to the foot of his left post to tip the ball away to safety.

Tuchel opted to bring into play, Reece James and Mason Mount as they looked to put an end product to their possession superiority.

Off came Simons and Vale.

A whipped free-kick by James saw Fernandez punch the ball out. It fell to Barkley, whose shot took a slight deflection away from goal for a corner.

N’Golo Kante entered the fray, replacing Barkley with 15 minutes left.

Chelsea took the lead on 80 minutes.

Some wonderful tricky play by Kante on the edge of the Brentford areas as the France star slide the ball to James. His powerful low drive was met by the unlucky Jansson who sliced the ball with his left foot into his own net.

The speed of Pulisic was extraordinary three minutes later when the USA forward latched onto a Mount pass. Fernandez upended the striker and referee Andre Marriner awarded a penalty.

Up stepped Jorginho, who characteristically sent Fernandez the wrong way to double the lead for the visitors, who needed to see out the final few minutes, which they did with consummate ease.

Teams: Brentford: Fernandez, Bech, Jansson, Pinnock, Canos, Baptiste, Jensen, Janet, Henry, Wissa, Mbeumo

Subs: Cox, Thompson, Norgaard, Forss, Ghoddos, Onyeka, Toney, Peary-Harris, Stevens

Chelsea: Kepa, Simons, Chalobah, Sarr, Azpilicueta, Kovacic, Saul, Alonso, Barkley, Soonsup-Bell, Vale

Subs: Bettinelli, James, Rudiger, Hall, Jorginho, Kante, Webster, Mount, Pulisic


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