League Cup: Chelsea “play with fire” to reach final

Thomas Tuchel said Chelsea reached the League Cup final despite “playing with fire” as Antonio Rudiger’s goal and three VAR decisions helped the Blues seal a 1-0 win at Tottenham on Wednesday. Rudiger’s first-half header ensured Chelsea pressed home the advantage they earned with a 2-0 win in the first leg of the semi-finals last week. Tuchel’s team also had VAR official Mike Dean as Tottenham were handed two penalties by Andre Mariner, only for reviews to reverse both, while Harry Kane saw a goal disallowed for offside.

Chelsea, 3–0 on aggregate, will play either Liverpool or Arsenal in the final at Wembley on 27 February.

Liverpool hosted the coronavirus-delayed first leg of their semi-final against the Gunners on Thursday.

“We started well. We had big chances and controlled the match, but I felt like we played with fire,” Tuchel said.

He said, “We gave chances from nasty mistakes and got lucky. We almost gave a penalty for no reason, a little overconfidence. We needed luck not to award another penalty, to make an offside VAR decision. for,” he said.

Tuchel is the first manager in Chelsea’s history to lead the club to Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup finals, a feat he achieved 350 days after his first game in charge in January 2020.

It is Chelsea’s first League Cup final since 2019 as they aim to win the competition for the first time since 2015.

“We need to play better if we really deserve results like this. We have to meet the standards,” Tuchel said.

Tottenham have not won a major trophy since lifting the League Cup in 2008 and their options for ending a drought this season are dwindling.

Antonio Conte had admitted that it would be difficult to end the deficit against a team of quality Chelsea.

And the Tottenham manager’s pessimism proved well-founded as Chelsea quickly took a firm grip on the tie in north London.

“At the end of two games, Chelsea deserved to reach the final in this competition, we have to be honest,” Conte said.

“We created a lot of scoring opportunities in the second half and deserved a better result than we lost 1-0, but if you have a decision on two games, Chelsea deserved to win,” he said.

Tottenham’s bid to become the second team to reach the League Cup final after losing the first leg by more than one goal was broken in the 18th minute.

– War Drama –

Pierluigi Golini had a surprise start for Tottenham instead of Hugo Lloris, a Conte gamble that backfired as he was mistaken for the Chelsea opener.

It was an embarrassing goal to concede as Golini came out of his line in an unsuccessful attempt to punch from Mason Mount’s inswinging corner, allowing the unmarked Rudiger to guide his header through the bottom of the bar into the top corner.

Rudiger had already scored this term in Chelsea’s Premier League win at Tottenham and once again the German defender’s aggression was too much for the North Londoners.

Tottenham thought they had won a penalty when Rudiger sent Hjberg tumbling over the Dane with a sliding tackle, but VAR converted Mariner’s decision to a free-kick as the tackle was clearly made outside the area.

Mariner’s poor decisions added to Tottenham’s frustration and the referee was forced to deny the hosts another penalty in the second half.

Kane’s pass sent Lucas Moura on goal, but Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga made a well-timed block with his feet and, when Mariner mistakenly pointed to the spot, VAR turned the decision. intervened.

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Kepa made another crucial save later, leaping to his left to clear Emerson Royal’s header.

Incredibly, Tottenham suffered a third VAR reversal when Kane swung his shot into the far corner in the 63rd minute, only for review to show he was inches away.

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