Tottenham just too strong as Mourinho's side end Brentford's League Cup dream
Tottenham 2 Sissoko 12, Son Heung-Min 70
Carabao Cup semi-final
Spurs booked themselves a Wembley date and the chance to end a 13-year wait for a trophy as their extra class in front of goal put paid to the Bees.
It has been a brilliant League Cup campaign for Thomas Frank’s men – who saw off four Premier League sides on their way to the semi-finals - but this was a game too far, as goals in each half from Moussa Sissoko and Son Heung-Min ended their hopes of a first ever domestic cup final.
They ended what turned out to be a disappointing contest for them with 10-men too – Josh Dasilva seeing red five minutes from time after planting his studs into the shin of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg as he made a clumsy lunge for the ball.
Referee Mike Dean made that decision after being alerted to the offense by VAR and it was an off-field intervention which also scuppered hopes of a Bees equaliser just past the hour – an Ivan Toney header being ruled offside.
The Bees gave a great account of themselves overall, but Jose Mourinho’s love affair with the League Cup prevailed. He will take a team to the final of this competition for the fifth time, having done it three times with Chelsea and once more with Man United.
He is one game away from delivering the silverware he always promises when he takes on a new club. A final against one of the Manchester clubs in April will be something to look forward to – and fans will be praying some of them can attend by then.
Spurs always looked in charge and led after the first moment of danger they created. A beautifully flighted ball from the left by Sergio Reguilon was met perfectly by Sissoko, drifting in behind Ethan Pinnock, and his header into the top corner gave David Raya no chance.
Reguilon was in hot water for breaking Covid protocols with a Christmas gathering but he made the most of the fact any punishment from the club did not include a lengthy ban.
Soon after the goal, Harry Kane and Lucas Moura combined to find Son on the edge of the penalty area and the Bees keeper had to dive smartly to his left to keep out a bendy effort.
Frank’s men were never discouraged, even if they struggled to piece together any moves to put Hugo Lloris under any real pressure. A loopy header from Toney after a chip in from the right by Bryan Mbeumo at least raised their optimism a notch.
Dasilva, the ex-Arsenal man hoping to inflict pain on his former club’s rivals had a full-blooded shot blocked after a decent spell of pressure from the Bees.
But the greater threat still looked to be carried by the home side and after a corner, Raya only just managed to claw a Lucas Moura header out from under the angle of post and crossbar.
There was encouragement for the Bees at the start of the second half, with Sergi Canos blasting goalwards and Mbeumo getting the better of Davinson Sanchez before Serge Aurier blocked Toney’s close-range effort.
Yet still a second goal for the home side always looked to be the likeliest outcome, as Aurier fired just over, and Son volleyed just wide from inside the area after being found by a Sissoko cross from the right.
The Bees thought they had drawn level on 65 minutes when Toney nodded in from a yard after Pinnock had headed back across goal and over Lloris’ despairing fingertips. But VAR ruled out the strike for offside, the Bees’ striker’s knee being just ahead of the last defender.
It seemed inevitable they would suffer for that reversal of fortune and sure enough, Son finished a raid by putting away a defence-splitting ball from Tanguy Ndombele to all but break the Bees’ resistance.
Raya did well to keep out Kane and Ndombele clipped the outside of a post as Spurs looked to finish with a flourish but the final significant moment was the sad departure of Dasilva.
Brentford had only ever beaten Spurs twice in 15 previous encounters – both times just after the war. The last time was back in March 1948.
The last meeting was in the League Cup 20 years ago when the Bees punched above their weight, but eventually succumbed 2-0 at White Hart Lane after a 0-0 draw at Griffin Park.
That day, Les Ferdinand was in the Tottenham side and it didn’t seem like fair sides. The Bees are a much tougher proposition these days and will have a big say in the promotion race, but the outcome, sadly for them, was the same.
Spurs: Lloris – Aurier, Sanchez, Dier, Reguilon (Davies 71) – Sissoko, Hojbjerg (Tanganga 85) – Lucas (Winks 71), Ndombele, Son (Vinicus 89) – Kane. Subs not used: Hart, Alderweireld, Alli, Bergwijn, White
Bees: David Raya – Dalsgaard, Pinnock, Bech Sorensen, Henry – Dasilva, Janelt (Marcondes 74), Jensen – Mbeumo (Forss 81), Toney, Canos (Fosu 74). Subs not used: Daniels, Ghoddos, Roerslev, Stevens, Gilbert, Haygarth