Chelsea booked their place in the Carabao Cup Final with a 4-2 win on penalties against Tottenham after the sides were unable to be separated over the two legs.
N’Golo Kante and Eden Hazard put the Blues ahead on aggregate following the 1-0 defeat in the first leg which saw them underdogs with bookmakers on Max Free Bets, but a goal from Fernando Llorente brought the tie level. The hosts scored all four of their penalties in the shootout as Eric Dier sent his spot kick over and Lucas Moura saw his saved.
Gonzalo Higuain was ineligible to make his debut after the loan signing from Juventus and Olivier Giroud started as the lone striker. Emerson also came into the starting XI in place of an underachieving Marcos Alonso.
Spurs were dealing with the absences of their key players as Harry Kane and Dele Alli were unavailable for selection through injury while Heung-Min Son was still away at the Asian Games.
That missing quality was made apparent in the opening stages as the home side were firmly on top. Giroud squandered an effort that could only be described as acrobatic a few minutes before his club and international team-mate opened the scoring.
A useless Chelsea corner was dealt with at the front post by Llorente but his header only went as far as the edge of the box where Kante was placed to rifle a strike between the legs of three Tottenham players and into the back of the net. The statement of intent was made clear as the Blues players were keen to grab the ball and hunt for another goal.
Ten minutes later, that is exactly what they did through Hazard, who had received some criticism in the week from his manager. A fast-paced move caught the visitors out and allowed Cesar Azpilicueta to pull the ball out for the Belgian who finished past Paulo Gazzaniga with aplomb to put his side in front in the tie for the first time.
The scoreline at half time was fair but reflected Spurs’ lacklustre performance as much as the hosts’ dominance. However, with just a handful of second-half minutes on the clock, Mauricio Pochettino’s side were level through a piece of brilliance from their stand-in striker. Llorente somehow beat David Luiz to Danny Rose’s cross and powered a downward header beyond the sprawling Kepa.
Hazard then had a shot fly into the side netting as Chelsea looked to grab the momentum back following some assertive play from their opponents. He was the man causing all the problems as penalties beckoned but couldn’t quite arrow his driven strike inside the post.
Tottenham were holding on by the skin of their teeth with just seconds on the clock as Giroud really should have put it to bed, only for him to miss the ball completely as it looked easier to score. Penalties were required following the 2-2 aggregate score but the Blues ensured they weren’t going to be the side going out.
Christian Eriksen, Willian, Erik Lamela and Azpilicueta all scored from the spot before Dier ballooned his effort way over the bar, handing Chelsea the advantage on a plate. Jorginho, with his usual confidence, despatched his spot kick seconds before Kepa brilliantly saved Lucas’ penalty at full stretch. Luiz stepped up knowing that he could win it and he left Gazzaniga no chance, blasting it low and hard into the bottom corner to arrange a cup final meeting with Manchester City at the end of February.