Chelsea have reached the Carabao Cup final for the ninth time in their history after producing a hard-fought 1-0 win against Tottenham in the semi-final second leg (3-0 on aggregate) at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Antonio Rudiger's first-half header was the difference in north London as Chelsea came away with an important victory in a game where Tottenham correctly had two penalty decisions overturned and a goal disallowed by VAR.
Chelsea dominated possession in the first half and their third goal of the tie arrived in the 17th minute. A corner into the box was met by Rudiger ahead of Pierluigi Gollini, who misjudged the flight of the ball, to give Chelsea a comfortable advantage.
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Tottenham grew as the half progressed. Harry Kane was inches away from pulling Spurs level in the tie just past the half hour mark, but he could not turn in Davinson Sanchez's near-post header from a corner.
And there was a moment of VAR controversy three minutes before half-time when referee Andre Marriner awarded a penalty for a rash sliding challenge from Rudiger on Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. After a two-minute VAR review led by Mike Dean, the decision was that the foul was just outside the box.
In the 55th minute, Marriner pointed to the spot again when Arrizabalaga tackled Lucas Moura inside the box, but replays showed he intervened cleanly and the penalty was rightly chalked off.
After Arrizabalaga pulled off a brilliant save to deny a powerful header from Emerson Royal on the hour mark, Tottenham had an equaliser ruled out by VAR.
Kane's right boot was just offside before he put the ball into the empty net. With Arrizabalaga out of his goal ahead of play, Kane was deemed to be just ahead of Andreas Christensen with only Rudiger in front of him.
The game stopped in the 84th minute for around seven minutes after a fan was taken ill in the stands and Chelsea were untroubled for the remainder of the match.
Thomas Tuchel's side will play Liverpool or Arsenal in the final at Wembley Stadium on February 27.
TALKING POINT - A blot on Conte's record
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Tottenham have only lost three of the 14 games Antonio Conte has been in charge of and there is no doubt that the north London club have improved since he succeeded Nuno Espirito Santo in November.
But when he does depart, what will firstly be remembered about his time at Spurs was his inability to guide them into the League Cup final; a feat Jose Mourinho will cling on to from a year ago.
Conte's decision to start Gollini ahead of Hugo Lloris backfired, with the Italian goalkeeper at fault for Chelsea's opening goal, while Spurs' underwhelming backline was punished by Chelsea over two legs.
The Italian will rightfully have the backing from most Tottenham fans and it is clear the club must bring in reinforcements this transfer window, but the manner in which they have been brushed aside by Chelsea over two legs is a blot on the 52-year-old's record early on in his tenure.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Antonio Rudiger
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Rudiger produced a typically combative display and played a major role in keeping Lucas Moura and Harry Kane quiet. The Germany international's goal was well taken and his aerial threat proved a problem for Tottenham's backline at set-pieces.
Talks over a new contract for the 28-year-old have been rumbling on. Chelsea should look to find a solution quickly because he proved yet again how important he is to their defence.
Tottenham: Gollini (4), Emerson (6), Tanganga (4), Sanchez (5), Davies (4), Doherty (4), Hojbjerg (6), Winks (4), Lo Celso (6), Moura (6), Kane (6)
Subs: Sessegnon (6), Gil (6), Skipp (N/A)
Chelsea: Arrizabalaga (7), Christensen (6), Sarr (6), Rudiger (8), Azpilicueta (6), Jorginho (6), Kovacic (6), Hudson-Odoi (5), Mount (5), Lukaku (7), Werner (6)
Subs: Silva (6), Alonso (6), Ziyech (6), Kante (N/A), Loftus-Cheek (N/A)
17' - GOAL!!! RUDIGER NODS CHELSEA AHEAD! Chelsea have a three goal cushion now! The corner swung into the box is not met by Gollini and the German nods Chelsea further in front in this semi-final!
40' - TOTTENHAM PEN GOES TO VAR! Rudiger fouls Hojbjerg with a sliding challenge which may have been just outside the box. It was definitely a foul but was it in or out? VAR, led by Mike Dean this evening, will check this. NO PENALTY FOR SPURS BUT A FREE-KICK! After just over two minutes deliberating the penalty, the VAR decision is to award a free-kick instead. The free-kick is centimetres behind the line of the penalty box. It looks like Lo Celso will take it...
55' - PENALTY TO TOTTENHAM? Kane skips by a challenge from Rudiger and lays it off to Lucas Moura. Kepa appears to win the ball with his sliding tackle but Marriner awards a penalty. We have another VAR review! Marriner is now checking the monitor. NO TOTTENHAM PENALTY! For the second time in this match, another penalty has been reversed by VAR, but both decisions from the VAR officials have been correct.
63' - GOAL? KANE GOAL GOES TO VAR! Kane looks like he has scored his 250th goal for Tottenham but WE HAVE ANOTHER VAR DECISION. Was Kane offside as he picked up the ball from Lucas Moura? He is ahead of Kepa but his right foot may have been in front of Christensen.
64' - VAR RULES OUT KANE'S GOAL! Kane's right foot was deemed to be ahead of Christensen with only Rudiger in front of him and VAR denies Tottenham for the third time this evening!
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