Chelsea continued our excellent record of successfully converting first-leg leads in cup knockout ties into victories when we ousted Tottenham Hotspur in the Carabao Cup semi-finals on Wednesday.
Thanks to Kai Havertz’s early strike and a Ben Davies own goal at Stamford Bridge last week, the Blues travelled to north London with a two-goal lead. We duly built on that advantage with a Antonio Rudiger goal to seal a 3-0 aggregate victory as we went through to the final for the ninth time.
The result also extended our impressive streak of progressing after first-leg wins to 15 matches in various cup competitions over the past 15 season.
This run began at the same stage of the League Cup in 2008 when we met Everton, whose Merseyside neighbours Liverpool recovered from a 1-0 first-leg deficit to beat us on penalties in the Champions League semi-finals a year earlier.
A late own goal by Joleon Lescott gave us a 2-1 win at the Bridge and we pressed home our advantage at Goodison Park as a well-taken strike by Joe Cole sealed a 3-1 aggregate victory over the Toffees and a third appearance in four seasons in the League Cup final.
A year later, we reached the semi-finals of the Champions League by overcoming Juventus in the round of 16 and Liverpool in the quarter-finals with narrow first-leg wins and dramatic draws in the return matches.
After losing 1-0 at the Bridge, Juve twice levelled the aggregate score in Italy but were undone by away goals from Michael Essien and Didier Drogba as we advanced 3-2.
The Liverpool clash was even more eventful as the Reds fought back after losing 3-1 at Anfield to level the overall score before a frantic second half produced six goals in a memorable 4-4 draw which put us through to the semi-finals 7-4 on aggregate.
FC Copenhagen were beaten in the last 16 of the Champions League in 2011 after a 2-0 win in Denmark and 0-0 draw at the Bridge, while our run to the final a year later featured two matches in which we held a first-leg advantage.
Benfica were seen off in the quarter-finals after we won 1-0 in Portugal and 2-1 at the Bridge while Barcelona came back after losing 1-0 in London in the first leg of the semi-finals to lead by two goals against the Blues at the Camp Nou before Ramires’ stunning chip and Fernando Torres’ breakaway equaliser gave Chelsea fans a night to remember.
Heading for silverware
Our successful Europa League run a year later saw us lead from the front in three matches as we overcame Sparta Prague 2-1 on aggregate after a 1-0 win in the first leg, Rubin Kazan 5-4 after an initial 3-1 victory and Basel 5-2 after winning 2-1 in Switzerland.
It was a fairly similar story when we next appeared in the competition in 2019 as we again prevailed after first-leg victories against Malmo in the round of 32 (5-1 after a 2-1 win in Sweden), Dynamo Kiev in the last 32 (8-0 after winning 3-0 in London) and Slavia Prague in the quarter-finals (4-3 after a 1-0 win in the Czech Republic).
Which brings us to last year’s triumphant Champions League campaign when the Blues eliminated Atletico Madrid and Porto after winning the opening encounters.
Our 1-0 win over Atletico in Bucharest came courtesy of a stunning bicycle-kick from Olivier Giroud as we prevailed 3-0 on aggregate in the last 16, while goals by Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell gave us a crucial two-goal lead against the Portuguese side as we advanced 2-1 on aggregate.