Tottenham beat Chelsea on penalties to reach Carabao Cup last eight

It was no more than Erik Lamela and Tottenham deserved. Given next to no chance by their manager, José Mourinho – at least in public – they had started slowly, seemingly consumed by caution, and fallen behind to Timo Werner’s first goal in Chelsea colours.

Mourinho had said he would “like to fight for the Carabao Cup but I don’t think I can.” It was Spurs’s fifth game in 12 days and the sixth will come on Thursday – the Europa League play-off against Maccabi Haifa; a game of huge significance to the club’s finances. Mourinho made nine changes to the team that drew 1-1 at home to Newcastle on Sunday and, the way he had framed it, this tie was the one that had to give.

As Chelsea celebrated Werner’s goal, it would have taken a brave or foolish person to predict the turnaround. But how Spurs fought and, in the end, there was a creeping inevitability to their progress into the quarter-finals via Lamela’s late equaliser and a penalty shoot-out in which the Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount missed with the 10th kick.

Lamela played with the bit between his teeth, mixing attitude, aggression and trademark naughty fouls with skill and incision in an unfamiliar role up front. He was central to an outstanding second-half effort, although there were other heroes in white shirts.

Sergio Reguilón, the £27m signing from Real Madrid, overcame a dreadful start and he will enjoy the role that he played in Lamela’s goal – sparking panic inside the Chelsea area with a cross from the left – while Eric Dier excelled in central defence and Steven Bergwijn was lively.

Chelsea were strangely passive after their assured start – they failed to take care of the ball – and the lack of conviction extended to their finishing when they had chances to make the game safe on the counter in the closing stages.

Werner shot too close to Lloris and Callum Hudson-Odoi lifted wastefully over the crossbar before the moment that would prove the turning point. Chelsea had a two-on-one break but when Mount tried to play in Werner, Dier made a crucial interception. Mourinho would describe Dier as superhuman – he was the only Spurs outfield player to have started both here and against Newcastle.

There was so much to pick over. Moments before his dramatic defensive read, Dier had sprinted off down the tunnel to the dressing-room having felt an urgent call of nature, briefly leaving his team with 10 men.

And what about Mourinho’s touchline spat with Frank Lampard midway through the first-half, with the former indicating to his one-time Chelsea midfielder that he ought to stop talking – after they had argued over a foul?

Erik Lamela scores Tottenham’s equaliser to take the game to a penalty shootout.
Erik Lamela scores Tottenham’s equaliser to take the game to a penalty shootout. Photograph: Getty Images

Mourinho would follow up with a query as to why Lampard was being loud and visible at 1-0 up whereas he had been the opposite at West Brom on Saturday when his team had trailed 3-0. They battled back to 3-3. This is the kind of soundtrack that behind-closed-doors football permits and it was knockabout entertainment.

Lampard had beaten Mourinho in his previous three managerial duels with him – one with Derby in 2018-19 when Mourinho was at Manchester United and two last season with their current clubs. And he looked to be heading towards another success when Werner made it 1-0.

Spurs had barely escaped their own half at that point and the breakthrough goal was a disaster for Reguilón, who lost the ball to Hudson-Odoi before chasing back to jump into a tackle on César Azpilicueta. Sadly for him, Azpilicueta saw it coming, jinked inside and Reguilón slid off in the direction of the High Road. Azpilicueta’s cross deflected off Moussa Sissoko to fall for Werner, who took a touch before shooting into the near corner from the edge of the area.

Spurs dug out a foothold before the interval, with Lamela winning the ball and playing in Gedson Fernandes, who was thwarted by Kurt Zouma . Lamela also turned away from Jorginho to work Edouard Mendy, the debutant Chelsea goalkeeper, who was one of eight changes that Lampard made from West Brom. Kepa Arrizabalaga watched from the stands.

Apart from flapping at one cross, Mendy had a good game and he made a fine tip-over from Reguilon early in the second-half after Lamela had released Serge Aurier. Spurs snapped into challenges, they pushed higher up the field and they came to feel that there was something there for them.

Mourinho sent on Harry Kane and Lucas Moura and, after Chelsea had blown their chances on the break, Kane missed the target after chopping inside. Lamela’s goal was a defensive calamity for Chelsea with Fikayo Tomori, Zouma and the substitute, Emerson, failing to deal with Reguilon’s cross. Mourinho has the scent of silverware.


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