Chelsea reached the Carabao Cup final after beating Tottenham 4-2 on penalties after their two-legged semi-final ended 2-2 on aggregate.
Goals from N’Golo Kante and Eden Hazard put the Blues on the way before Fernando Llorente’s second-half header sent the game to penalties, where Eric Dier and Lucas Moura missed for Spurs.
Here are five talking points from the game Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea’s impressive reaction
If Maurizio Sarri’s extraordinary attack on his own players after Chelsea’s defeat at Arsenal was designed to fire them up for this game then it worked a treat. Sarri accused his team of lacking motivation and having no leaders after the limp display at the Emirates, but they showed they have got something about them against the other half of north London with a dynamic first-half performance that set them on the way to Wembley. There were also definitely leaders on show in the shootout as all four of Chelsea’s penalty takers scored to take them through to the final.
Eric Dier has now experienced both ends of the spectrum in shootouts and he will have found this one far less enjoyable than his last. In the summer he wrote himself into the history books as the England player who scored the winning spot-kick in their first ever World Cup shootout victory, converting the decisive kick against Colombia in the last 16. However, at Stamford Bridge he suffered heartache as, with the scores tied at 2-2, the midfielder blazed horribly over to become the first man to miss.
A Bridge too far for Spurs
Overcoming Chelsea without the likes of the injured Harry Kane and Dele Alli was just too big an ask for Spurs in what has been a testing competition for them. They opened up by having to play in Milton Keynes where they beat Watford on penalties and then had to travel to West Ham in the next round just 48 hours after playing Manchester City in the Premier League. Their reward for that win was a trip to north London rivals Arsenal, where they won 2-0 before being pitted against Chelsea. They would have been confident of reaching the final after winning the first leg 1-0, but, having trailed 2-0 at half-time, did brilliantly to take the game to penalties. In the end they fell short.
There were again pre-match pleas from both clubs for their fans to behave after recent unsavoury incidents of discrimination and, for the most part, they were heeded. There were isolated, short-lived and relatively muted uses of the ‘Y’ word by some Tottenham supporters, less regular than in many of their matches. There was nothing in response from Chelsea supporters as the night passed off without incident.
Sarri’s first final
Much has been made of the fact that Sarri is yet to win a trophy as a top-level manager, but he has never got as close as this, having now qualified for his first final in any cup competition. Chelsea have also had to do it the hard way as they knocked out Liverpool in the early rounds, had to rely on penalties to beat Bournemouth and then saw off Spurs over two legs. Another big test waits in the final at Wembley as Manchester City will be their opponents and Sarri has said that, if they can lift the trophy, it will be like winning the Champions League.