By Paul Lagan at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Spurs 0 v Chelsea 1 (0-3 on aggregate)
Antonio Rudiger’s first half header was enough to beat Spurs 1-0 at home and secure a 3-0 aggregate victory that takes the west Londoners to Wembley in the Carabao Cup final.
Spurs can have little complaints – even when VAR intervened to write off a goal and two possible penalties
Those three decisions were all correct and the north Londoners didn’t do enough over the 180 minutes to genuinely feel hard done by.
Chelsea by contrast had that 2-0 first leg lead to defend and they were by and large excellent at the back.
With Spurs making all the early running, it was the visitors who had the first try on goal, unless you count a Harry Kane free-kick straight into the blue wall.
Timo Werner attempted a chip from the edge of the Spurs penalty area on nine minutes. With Pierluigi Gollini off his line, the German’s decision was sound, but it was an unsound execution, and the ball went well wide of the goal.
But he was instrumental on 18 minutes when he won a corner. From the resultant kick, Toni Rudiger was first to the ball, Gollini misjudged his attack on the ball, and the centre-back headed the ball into the back of the empty net after bouncing off the underside of the crossbar.
Callum Hudson-Odoi tried from range, and this time Gollini did his job well, parrying the low ball away for a corner.
After sustained pressure by the west Londoners, Spurs got a foothold back in the game and two great efforts went begging, first Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg saw a curler deflected for a corner, then Kane could have touched the ball in at the far post, but was slightly late.
But with five minutes left of the half, Kane broke free, he passed to Hojbjerg, who raced into the penalty area. Rudiger attempted a challenge but hooked his leg round the midfielder.
Referee Andre Marriner pointed to the penalty spot.
VAR did its thing – taking a couple of minutes and decided it was a foul, but just outside the penalty area and not a spot kick.
The free-kick came to nothing.
There were no changes to either side at half-time.
Rudiger almost repeated his goal, on 49 minutes, but this time from a Mason Mount corner he headed over the Spurs crossbar.
Marriner awarded a penalty to Spurs on 56 minutes when Luca Moura broke free. Kepa stuck his leg out to block the ball.
Again VAR looked at the decision, and told Marriner to check the pitch-side monitor.
The decision was deservedly reversed and the score remained 1-0.
Kepa then produced a Hollywood save to thwart Emerson Royal as the home side attempted to pull themselves back into the tie.
They got a goal back through Kane, but for the third time, VAR rightly disallowed it as the England man was offside.
Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel made a triple substitution, seconds after, with Marcos Alonso, Thiago Silva and Hakim Ziyech coming on, Christensen, Mount and Werner departed.
Spurs replaced Matt Doherty with Ryan Sessegnon.
He was soon followed by Ryan Gill, Giovanni Lo Celso made way.
Tuchel then opted to bring on N’Golo Kante on 77 minutes with out-of-puff- Mateo Kovacic earning a little rest.
Then came Ruben Loftus-Cheek for Jorginho and Oliver Skipp for Spurs with Harry Winks making way.
The final minutes were punctuated by a stoppage in play as Spurs fans at the South Stand called for medical attention to a stricken fan.
The six added minutes saw the Blues manage the end effectively despite a late save by Kepa and they now head to The North East on Saturday to face league leaders Manchester City, while Spurs face their sworn north London enemies Arsenal back at Tottenham Hotspur stadium on Sunday.
Teams: Spurs, Gollini, Doherty, Hojbjerg, Sanchez, Winks, Kane, Royal, Lo Celso, Tanganga, Moura, Davies
Subs: Lloris, Gil, Rondon, Sessegnon, Alli, Skipp, White, Scarlett, Paskotsi
Chelsea: Kepa, Rudiger, Christensen, Jorginho, Kovacic, Lukaku, Werner, Mount, Hudson-Odoi, Azpilicueta, Sarr
Subs: Bettinelli, Alonso, Silva, Kante, Pulisic, Loftus-Cheek, Saul, Ziyech, Havertz
Referee: Andre Marriner
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