Tottenham are into the Carabao Cup semi-finals after edging a frantic, thrilling London derby with West Ham 2-1, in a game shaped by three goals in five first-half minutes, and will meet Antonio Conte’s former side Chelsea in the next round.
Tackles were flying in from both sides in the opening exchanges but it was Tottenham who took the lead just before the half hour when Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg drove into the box with a one-two off Steven Bergwijn before finding the Dutchman again to convert from close range (29).
That goal sparked a wild passage of play, with Hugo Lloris twice tipping over his bar before Eric Dier’s early Christmas gift allowed Jarrod Bowen to turn and arrow in a quick reply (32) – but moments after the Hammers’ celebrations, Spurs were back in front when Lucas Moura tucked in (34) after a fine dribble from Bergwijn.
Sergio Reguilon may have obstructed Alphonse Areola’s vision from an offside position for that goal but with no VAR in operation and no flag raised, Spurs were in control once more.
The intensity continued after the break, with Lloris denying Bowen in the box before referee Chris Kavanagh rightly waved away penalty appeals at both ends when Harrison Ashby was floored by a fair challenge from Reguilon and Matt Doherty’s cross hit Arthur Masuaku’s chest before his arm.
West Ham threw everything at their neighbours in the final stages, with sub Said Benrahma flashing a series of shots at goal and goalkeeper Areola up for a last-gasp corner, but they could not find a second equaliser and Conte celebrated passionately at full-time as his Spurs side clinched a spot in the final four, where they meet his old club Chelsea.
That semi-final will take place next month, with the first leg in the week of January 3, and the second leg in the week of January 10, with the winners going on to face either Arsenal or Liverpool.
Carabao Cup semi-final draw
Chelsea vs Tottenham
Arsenal vs Liverpool
How it happened…
This pre-Christmas London derby got off to a suitably frenetic start, with Bergwijn’s deflected shot flying wide and Declan Rice’s free-kick soaring over the bar before Harry Kane forced Areola to push away his left-foot effort after a super pass from Lucas.
- Tottenham make six changes, with Matt Doherty in for Emerson Royal, Sergio Reguilon replacing the injured Ryan Sessegnon, Oliver Skipp and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg taking the midfield spots of Harry Winks and Tanguy Ndombele, while Lucas Moura and Steven Bergwijn came in for Heung-Min Son and Dele Alli.
- West Ham made four changes with Alphonse Areola taking the gloves from Lukasz Fabianski, youngster Harrison Ashby stepping in for suspended Vlad Coufal, Ben Johnson returning from injury to replace Pablo Fornals, and Nikola Vlasic in for Michail Antonio, who tested positive for COVID
The visitors were putting Lloris under pressure, forcing the Frenchman to repeatedly punch the ball out of his six-yard box but Tottenham made the breakthrough when West Ham gave up possession in their own half.
Kane saw a shot blocked but Hojbjerg kept the move alive and combined swiftly with Bergwijn for the forward to slot in his first goal of the season.
West Ham’s response was impressive, with two Tomas Soucek headers testing Lloris before Craig Dawson headed over when he looked primed to nod in.
Dier then gave them an unfortunate helping hand, with his poor pass out from defence going straight to Soucek and when Nikola Vlasic found Bowen in the box the outcome seemed inevitable, with Dier punished.
Spurs showed resolve of their own, though, and Bergwijn’s winding dribble past Manuel Lanzini allowed Lucas to squeeze in a second to the delight of the home crowd. Those celebrations may have been curtailed hasd VAR been in use but Reguilon escaped any punishment for offside for getting between Lucas and the goalkeeper as the shot came in.
The tempo remained frantic after half-time, with Ben Johnson blocking from Bergwijn before Lloris rushed off his line to stop Bowen in the box. There were penalty appeals turned down at either end but chances increasingly fell West Ham’s way, with sub Benrahma repeatedly pulling the trigger.
He and his team-mates could not find a way through though – even with Areola causing havoc from a final-minute corner – and at the final whistle it was the home side celebrating a spot in the semi-finals, with their ambition to go one better than last year still on.
What the managers said:
Tottenham boss, Antonio Conte: “The performance was good, we tried to control the game. I liked the way we moved the ball and attacked the goal with many players. In the second half at one point we started to play a little bit COVID situations because a lot of players today have had COVID and at one moment the intensity suffered and I made substitutions.
“I enjoyed an amazing season at Chelsea and enjoyed a lot there. But now I’m the manager of Tottenham and ready to give everything for this club. In England to win a trophy is very, very difficult. Now we’ll see.”
West Ham boss, David Moyes: “I thought it was a good performance. A couple of defensive lapses in the first half gave Tottenham some relatively easy goals. But I don’t think you could question our commitment and determination. An awful lot of good things for us. I couldn’t fault the players at all. When you win at Old Trafford and beat Man City on penalty kicks you think this could be our year.”
Carabao Cup 2021/22 schedule…
- Semi-finals: January 4/5 and 11/12
- Final: February 27
Tottenham are back at home on Boxing Day to face Crystal Palace at 3pm, while West Ham host Southampton at the same time.