Chelsea struck late to seal their passage into the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup with a 2-0 win at Brentford.
Bees defender Pontus Jansson put through his own net to open the scoring on 80 minutes, and Jorginho sealed the win for the Blues from the penalty spot with five minutes to go at the Brentford Community Stadium.
It was a frustrating night for Brentford, who had enjoyed the better of the chances in the first half, but eventually caved to Chelsea pressure late on. The Blues go into the hat for the final four of the competition they last won in 2015.
Chelsea seal late passage into Carabao semis
Chelsea dominated possession in the first half, but it was Brentford who created the best of the chances. The first big opening was their best on 12 minutes, as Yoane Wissa was found by Bryan Mbeumo in the middle, but he put his header too close to Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Kepa was called into action again in the visitors’ goal on 31 minutes to deny Mathias Jensen’s headed effort, and then to palm wide from Rico Henry after the wing-back had been released in behind Chelsea’s defence.
At the other end, Chelsea’s best chance came just before half-time and fell to Harvey Vale – one of three teenagers handed their senior debut by Thomas Tuchel. After 43 minutes he found himself unmarked in the box to receive a cross from Cesar Azpilicueta, but he could only head straight at Alvaro Fernandez.
Another of those debutants, Jude Soonsup-Bell, was brought off at half-time, along with Mateo Kovacic, as Tuchel freshened things up for Chelsea – with Jorginho and Christian Pulisic coming on in their place.
It was two more changes that finally led to the breakthrough for Chelsea, however. Substitute N’Golo Kante found another replacement in Reece James down the right, and his cross was turned into his own net by the unfortunate Jansson with 10 minutes to go.
In the 85th minute it was game over, as Fernandez tripped Pulisic in the box, and Jorginho stepped up to send him the wrong way from the penalty spot.
Man of the Match: Rico Henry
It’s not often you give this award to a man who ended up on the losing side, but Henry was withdrawn with the game still goalless and it may well have stayed that way had Thomas Frank not opted to remove him.
The all-important Chelsea opener came down his side once he was not there, and in his 73 minutes on the pitch he provided a constant threat down the left for Brentford. With Luke Shaw out of form and Ben Chilwell injured, Gareth Southgate should be keeping an eye.
Carabao Cup 2021/22 schedule…
- Semi-finals: January 4/5 and 11/12
- Final: February 27
Live Renault Super Sunday
Sunday 26th December 5:00pm
Live Renault Super Sunday
Sunday 26th December 7:45pm
Brentford will be live on Sky Sports on Boxing Day when they travel to Brighton in the Premier League; kick-off 8pm. Chelsea will be live on Sky Sports just beforehand too as they travel to Aston Villa on Sunday; kick-off 5.30pm.