Match Report

Short Report: Narrow first-leg loss

A summary's of tonight's Carabao Cup semi-final first leg with the key talking points and moments analysed...

A penalty scored by Harry Kane was the difference between the teams in the first leg of our Carabao Cup semi-final against Tottenham.

The England captain beat Kepa Arrizabalaga from 12 yards after our keeper had brought him down as he chased a long ball. VAR ratified a very marginal offside decision.

We had the vast majority of the ball and territory thereafter, but could not find the net, a problem of ours in recent weeks. It was not for the want of trying, with N’Golo Kante and Callum Hudson-Odoi, with a deflected cross, hitting the post before the break and Andreas Christensen putting a great chance wide after it.

So it’s all to play for when the teams reconvene at Stamford Bridge on Thursday 24 January.

In the balance

Tonight’s result might not have gone our way, but the performance, especially in the second period when we pinned Tottenham back, showed we are more than a match for our north London rivals and have every chance of progressing in two weeks’ time. The key will be being more clinical in the final third.

Woodwork pain

Which leads us on to the frame of the goal! We have been striking it with frustrating regularity of late: twice against Leicester, Watford and Crystal Palace and now twice again tonight, testing the resolve of the left-hand post down the far end from the travelling support. Hopefully our fortunes in that respect change soon...

Team news

Alvaro Morata had a slight hamstring injury so dropped out. Eden Hazard led the line with Hudson-Odoi to his right. Christensen started in central defence.

Key moments

5: After Ross Barkley shot wide at one end, Kane acrobatically volleyed at Kepa Arrizabalaga down the other.

7: Hudson-Odoi took Willian’s superb crossfield ball in his stride and fired a low shot straight at Paulo Gazzaniga.

25: After a lengthy VAR check, a penalty was awarded after Kepa brought down Kane who had just stayed onside running onto a straight long ball.

40: Kante flicked Marcos Alonso’s near-post cross against the outside of the post at the end of a lengthy passing move.

45+2: Close! Hudson-Odoi’s cross deflected off Danny Rose and was touched onto the inside of the post by Gazzaniga before being hacked to safety.

52: Kane’s powerful 25-yarder was tipped wide with a strong left hand by Kepa.

54: Kante had Gazzaniga sprawling to his left to parry his swerving strike to safety.

60: Christensen, stretching, prodded wide after Barkley headed a corner into a dangerous area.

63: Pedro replaced Willian. Hudson-Odoi moved to the left wing.

75: Mateo Kovacic came on for Barkley in a like-for-like swap.

79: Olivier Giroud for Hudson-Odoi was our final change.

86: Hazard’s low centre was not claimed and the ball fell to Alonso whose fierce effort was blocked.

What’s next?

It’s back to the Bridge on Saturday for the visit of Newcastle. Kick-off is at 5.30pm UK time.

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