Section: League Cup

League Cup: Chelsea 2-0 Spurs

Jose Mourinho claimed his first trophy since returning for his second spell as Chelsea manager with a comfortable Capital One Cup final victory over Tottenham at Wembley.

John Terry and Diego Costa did the damage – both with the aid of deflections – either side of the interval as Spurs’ hopes of repeating their success over Chelsea in this competition seven years ago never got off the ground.

The win gave Mourinho his first silverware since La Liga success with Real Madrid in 2012 and Chelsea their first since the Europa League final victory against Benfica in Amsterdam a year later.

Despite a career laden with trophies, Mourinho claimed this was the most important final of his time in the game and Chelsea were never seriously troubled once Christian Eriksen’s early free-kick rebounded to safety off the woodwork.

Mourinho’s mastery of the big selection decision was also demonstrated once more by his deployment of Kurt Zouma, a central defender by trade, in midfield to fulfil the role left behind by the suspended Nemanja Maticto outstanding effect.

Spurs, for all their endeavour, never looked close to repeating that convincing victory over Chelsea on New Year’s Day, when Mourinho’s side were beaten 5-3 at White Hart Lane.

And with Chelsea’s closest Premier League title rivals Manchester City losing 2-1 at Liverpool even before this final kicked off – leaving his side with a five-point advantage with a game in hand – this just about added up to Mourinho’s perfect day.

Tottenham had the exertions of a Europa League tie – and painful exit – against Fiorentina in Italy on Thursday, and while this may have taken its toll, they never looked like rescuing the situation once Chelsea took the lead right on half-time.

Tottenham’s usual suspects created early optimism for their fans as Eriksen bounced a 20-yard free-kick off the bar, although Petr Cech – preferred in goal to Thibaut Courtois – looked to have the situation under control, and Harry Kane ended a fine run with a low shot that was comfortably saved by Chelsea’s keeper.

As usual, Costa was keeping Spurs fully occupied in the physical exchanges, angering Nabil Bentaleb with a hand-off, squaring up to Kyle Walker and getting involved in a running battle with Eric Dier that ended with the defender picking up a yellow card for a foul.

As the first 45 minutes looked to be drawing to a subdued conclusion, Chelsea pounced on a moment of defensive confusion to take the lead.

Willian’s free-kick was deflected out of a cluster of bodies to the feet of Terry, whose shot took a crucial touch off Kane to defeat Hugo Lloris, who was given the nod by Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino ahead of regular League Cup choice Michel Vorm.

And it was another deflection that was a key element as Chelsea doubled their lead 11 minutes after the break. Cesc Fabregas, who had seen an ambitious overhead kick well saved by Lloris, found Costa, whose shot was directed across the face of goal until it took a deflection off Walker to beat Lloris inside his near post.

This was effectively the end of the contest, with barely a blow traded between the sides before Chelsea captain Terry lifted the trophy.

Read more at BBC Sport

League Cup: Sheff Utd 2-2 Spurs (2-3 agg)

Tottenham survived a stunning fightback from League One side Sheffield United to set up a League Cup final with Chelsea after another late goal from Christian Eriksen.

Eriksen’s magnificent first-half free-kick put Spurs 2-0 up on aggregate.

United’s 18-year-old substitute Che Adams then struck twice from close range in three minutes to put the tie on the brink of extra time.

But Eriksen secured a 3-2 aggregate win with a composed low finish.

Spurs beat Chelsea in the League Cup final in 2008 for their last piece of silverware and the sides will now meet again at Wembley on Sunday 1 March.

Read more at BBC Sport

League Cup: Costa charged over stamp on Liverpool’s Emre Can

Diego Costa has been charged with violent conduct over one of two apparent stamps during Chelsea’s win against Liverpool in the League Cup.

Costa was accused by Liverpool of stamping on Emre Can at Stamford Bridge and then of a further stamp on Martin Skrtel.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho insisted that both stamps were “absolutely accidental” and also lashed out at Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp over criticism of the striker, while Liveprool boss Brendan Rodgers described Costa’s actions as “poor”.

The FA was aware of the controversy following the 1-0 semi-final second-leg win at Stamford Bridge – which saw Chelsea through to the final 2-1 on aggregate – and was waiting for referee Michael Oliver’s report.

However, the FA has now revealed in a statement: “Diego Costa has been charged by The FA for violent conduct following an on-field incident which was not seen by the match officials but caught on video.

“The charge is in relation to an incident involving the Chelsea forward and Liverpool’s Emre Can which occurred in the 12th minute of the League Cup semi-final second leg at Stamford Bridge last night.

“The player has until 6pm on Thursday to respond to the charge.

“Following a review of an incident during the game involving Costa and Liverpool’s Martin Skrtel, The FA will not be taking any further action.”

Costa faces the prospect of a three-match ban, which would rule him out of Saturday’s Premier League showdown with title rivals Manchester City as well as matches against Everton and Aston Villa. There is no right of appeal.

Read more at ESPN

League Cup: Chelsea 1-0 Liverpool AET (2-1agg)

Branislav Ivanovic goal for Chelsea sees off Liverpool in Capital One Cup

Branislav Ivanovic kept his head as Chelsea edged a frenetic, ill-tempered clash with Liverpool to advance to the Capital One Cup final.

An Ivanovic header in the fourth minute of extra-time proved the difference as Chelsea responded from the humiliating FA Cup defeat to League One Bradford to advance to a first final of Jose Mourinho’s second spell as boss.

A 1-1 first-leg draw at Anfield meant it was all down to the Stamford Bridge clash and the 1-0 victory for Mourinho means he has now won four of his five contests with Brendan Rodgers, once his protege and now a bitter rival.

The managers confronted each other on the touchline as a tempestuous contest featuring nine bookings spilled into the technical area.

A comical moment followed as Liverpool assistant boss Colin Pascoe offered the Portuguese his glasses. Mourinho was not amused.

The Blues boss spent much of the night fuming, but it was Rodgers who had reason to feel most aggrieved early on as Diego Costa should have been sent off for stamping on Emre Can’s ankle.

Costa should then have had a penalty when tripped by Martin Skrtel, but referee Michael Oliver waved away appeals, much to the astonishment and anger of Mourinho.

Twice Liverpool spurned chances to take the lead as Thibaut Courtois saved well from Alberto Moreno and then Philippe Coutinho, while Simon Mignolet twice denied Costa at the other end.

Mourinho raged at Oliver when Jordan Henderson avoided a second booking for handball and his displeasure with the officials continued into extra-time as he missed Ivanovic’s header while talking to fourth official Phil Dowd.

With Frank Lampard’s Manchester City visiting Stamford Bridge in the Premier League on Saturday, the additional half hour was less than welcome, but Chelsea showed a grit and determination lacking against Bradford to prevail.

Read more at ESPN

League Cup: Spurs 1-0 Sheff Utd

Andros Townsend’s penalty ensured Tottenham will go into the second leg of the Capital One Cup semi-final with an advantage over Sheffield United.

Spurs had been frustrated by the League One side before Jay McEveley’s needless handball in the 74th minute gave them a spot-kick, which Townsend converted.

Townsend and Emmanuel Adebayor missed the target for Spurs when well placed and Eric Dier also had a header saved.

The Blades did not hit the target and need a two-goal win in the second leg.

Read more at BBC Sport

League Cup: Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea

Liverpool and Chelsea all square after Capital One Cup semi-final first leg

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho still has not won a semifinal against Liverpool after Raheem Sterling’s flash of brilliance earned the Reds a deserved 1-1 draw in the opening leg of their Capital One Cup clash.

During his first spell in charge, the Stamford Bridge boss came off second best in last-four clashes against the Merseysiders in the Champions League, twice, and FA Cup.

The League Cup can now be added to that after Eden Hazard’s 18th-minute penalty was cancelled out by the England international on the hour.

It will not matter to the Portuguese manager, however, as he will be confident they can get the job done in next week’s second leg.

Yet Liverpool counterpart Brendan Rodgers, formerly a member of Mourinho’s coaching staff, and his side will have gained great confidence from this performance.

They restricted the visitors, lining up with the Premier League’s leading scorer Diego Costa, to just one shot on target all game.

The downside was Liverpool created 19 chances, six on target, but could only come away with a draw.

Pre-match, Rodgers said he felt they could go to Stamford Bridge and win and that will now be required, by whatever means necessary, but the advantage remains with Chelsea.

Considering the history between the clubs there was plenty of simmering tension in the first half but it never transferred into real chances.

Just three shots on target were registered, with Chelsea’s solitary effort the penalty.

It came about through Emre Can’s naivety, which in some ways is understandable considering he was only thrust into the left-sided centre-back in a three-man defence on Boxing Day.

His first mistake was to allow Cesc Fabregas to skip past him far too easily to reach the byline, his second was to compound his error by trying to recover the situation by connecting with Hazard.

It may not have been the hardest of challenges but referee Mike Atkinson pointed to the spot and Hazard sent Simon Mignolet the wrong way.

It was familiar storyline, last seen back in April when Mourinho’s side derailed Liverpool’s title bid after capitalising on Steven Gerrard’s slip and then defending the life out of the game.

All the meaningful possession had been the hosts, with Philippe Coutinho showing he could add desire and influence to his talents with the ball.

The fleet-footed Brazilian left the experienced John Terry trailing in his wake with one shuffle and had a shot deflected over.

In between he pulled the strings in the zone 20 yards outside Chelsea’s penalty area, showing an improved relationship with central striker Sterling.

Gerrard’s dipping drive from 30 yards, only just tipped over by Thibaut Courtois, was their best chance although the last action of the half had an incensed Rodgers encroaching on to the pitch claiming a penalty after the ball appeared to hit the hand of Costa laid on the floor.

With a lead in the bag, Chelsea did exactly what Mourinho asked them to in terms of recovering their shape whenever they lost possession and then hitting on the counter-attack.

The Portuguese had planned exactly for this eventuality — you could almost say inevitability — by bringing Jon Obi Mikel in alongside regular midfield colossus Nemanja Matic.

When Rodgers talks about a box in midfield he is referring to it in an attacking sense. Mourinho employed his own box but this one 20 or 30 yards deeper.

Very rarely was there more than 15 yards between Chelsea’s midfield pair and central defenders Terry and Gary Cahill, shutting down the space Coutinho and Gerrard, in a more advanced role, wanted to work in.

The invention had to come from deeper and when Jordan Henderson slid a pass down the centre Sterling went past Matic before the Serbia international could react, raced past Cahill into the area and beat Courtois.

It was the first goal Chelsea’s mean defence had conceded in 341 minutes and all of a sudden the visitors were properly under the cosh.

This seemed to be the game the 22-year-old Coutinho came of age and his run set up Gerrard to hit the post with a placed left-footed shot before the Brazil international forced Courtois into a low save and Martin Skrtel headed over.

Chelsea’s goalkeeper was by far the busier and was at his best to save from Henderson and then react quickly to block Sterling’s rebound before palming away substitute Adam Lallana’s volley.

The Belgian’s performance may just prove to be the one that takes them to Wembley.

Read more at ESPN

League Cup draw: Liverpool v Chelsea, Spurs v Sheff Utd

Premier League leaders Chelsea will play Liverpool in the semi-finals of the League Cup, with Tottenham meeting Sheffield United in the other tie.

Jose Mourinho’s Blues won 2-1 at Anfield when the teams last met, in a top-flight match on 8 November.

League One side Sheffield United have already knocked out Premier League teams Southampton and West Ham en route to facing 2008 winners Spurs.

League Cup semi-final draw
Liverpool v Chelsea
Spurs v Sheffield United
First legs: w/c 19 January; Second legs: w/c 26 January

The two-legged ties will be played next month, with the final on 1 March.

Liverpool and Chelsea both overcame Championship opposition with 3-1 away victories in the quarter-finals.

Brendan Rodgers’s Reds won at Bournemouth on Wednesday, 24 hours after Chelsea beat Derby County.

Rodgers told Sky Sports: “It didn’t matter who we got in the draw, it was just important to get there.

“To win this competition you have to win games against big sides.”

Tottenham beat Newcastle 4-0 to book their place in the semi-finals, while Sheffield United were 1-0 victors against Southampton.

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino said: “We have respect for Sheffield United – it is never easy. They deserve to be in the semi-final. We expect a tough game.”

Read more at BBC Sport

League Cup: Bournemouth 1-3 Liverpool

Raheem Sterling nets brace to help Reds through over Bournemouth

Raheem Sterling’s first goals since mid-September helped Liverpool end a miserable seven days with a place in the Capital One Cup semi-finals at the expense of Bournemouth.

The England winger had endured a 22-game goal drought for club and country until he set Liverpool on their way to a 3-1 away win with a close-range header.

Lazar Markovic, fresh from his controversial red card as the Reds exited Europe, grabbed the second before a trademark Sterling run ended with his fifth of the season to put the smiles back on the faces of supporters after their Old Trafford defeat.

Dan Gosling, who memorably netted a cup winner to beat Liverpool in his Everton days, pulled a goal back and then rattled a post as the Championship leaders relinquished their 12-game unbeaten run.

The majority of the sold-out crowd arrived with expectations that their table-toppers could pile more misery on Brendan Rodgers and they almost took an early lead against a strong Liverpool line-up.

Left-back Adam Smith, one of six Bournemouth changes, saw an effort blocked by Martin Skrtel before Callum Wilson side-footed wide having done all the hard work to create an opening.

After those escapes Liverpool began to kick into gear, with Adam Lallana forcing his former Southampton team-mate Artur Boruc into a fine save from 20 yards.

Baily Cargill is yet to make a Championship start but Cherries boss Eddie Howe kept faith with the youngster, a regular during this competition, and he caught the eye with a fine block to deny Sterling after he had scampered through the hosts’ half.

The visitors were beginning to pin Bournemouth in their own half and that sustained pressure eventually told in the 20th minute when Jordan Henderson headed Markovic’s delivery across goal for Sterling to nod in.

It was no surprise when Liverpool doubled their lead seven minutes later. Philippe Coutinho’s low near-post shot was kept out by Boruc but the ball fell straight to Markovic, who calmly chalked up his first Liverpool goal.

Free-scoring Bournemouth carved out a huge chance to cut the deficit with the game’s next move – only for Yann Kermorgont to fire his effort over the crossbar.

Having struggled with Cardiff’s aerial presence in Saturday’s 5-3 victory, Bournemouth’s defence were facing a completely different threat with Rodgers’ nippy playmakers swarming around behind Sterling.

And Rodgers’ false nine showed his electric pace to create a chance for himself just before the break, only for the diving figure of Boruc to deny Sterling.

The England player would, however, only have to wait until the 51st minute to double his tally. Picking up a pass from Lallana he twisted and turned past Cherries captain Tommy Elphick and found the bottom corner.

Reds goalkeeper Brad Jones had enjoyed a quiet evening on his second successive start in place of the dropped Simon Mignolet until the 57th minute, when the goalkeeper failed to cover himself in glory as the Cherries pulled a goal back. Gosling cleverly stepping through two challenges before squeezing a shot past the Australian.

Sterling missed a gilt-edged chance to claim a hat-trick when he dragged a 67th-minute effort wide from Lallana’s back-heeled pass but that was a rare respite from a spell of Bournemouth domination.

Substitute Ryan Fraser watched his looping header fall wide, Gosling crashed an effort off Jones’ other post and then Ritchie drilled a low effort across goal.

Despite controlling possession Bournemouth could only muster a wayward effort from Simon Francis and a header from Cargill in the final 10 minutes but they bowed out with their heads held high.

Read more at ESPN

League Cup: Spurs 4-0 Newcastle

Tottenham obliterated Newcastle as they stylishly secured their place in Capital One Cup semi-finals.

Mauricio Pochettino’s start to life in north London has not been without its teething problems, yet Spurs fans are now beginning to see the performances they yearn for.

The recent improvements were evident at White Hart Lane on Wednesday evening, when Nabil Bentaleb, Nacer Chadli, Harry Kane and Roberto Soldado all scored in a 4-0 demolition of Newcastle.

It puts Spurs within a two-legged semi-final of Wembley and help made amends for October’s embarrassing 2-1 defeat to Alan Pardew’s men at White Hart Lane.

They certainly impressed in laying that ghost to rest, with Bentaleb capitalising on a mistake by Newcastle’s third-choice goalkeeper, Jak Alnwick, to turn home midway through the first half.

It was a lead doubled by Chadli seconds after half-time and, once Massadio Haidara cleared a Jan Vertonghen header off the line, Kane put the game out of sight.

It continued the England Under-21s international’s record of scoring in every round of this season’s competition and his replacement Soldado added extra gloss, slotting home from close range after Christian Eriksen’s initial effort was saved.

While things are on the up for Tottenham, this defeat is hardly the visitors’ ideal preparation for the Tyne-Wear derby against Sunderland this weekend.

It was a result which looked likely from early on, with Benjamin Stambouli, one of six Spurs changes, seeing a long-range effort loop onto the roof of the net via a deflection.

Chadli got away the evening’s first shot on target after meeting a lovely Andros Townsend pass, before Kane almost latched onto a fine cross-field ball from Danny Rose.

Townsend shot over as Spurs continued brightly and took the lead 18 minutes in after a moment that will haunt Alnwick.

Newcastle’s third-choice goalkeeper inexplicably fumbled an Eriksen corner and Bentaleb reacted quickly to scoop home in front of the befuddled visiting support.

It was a lead Spurs deserved but one which it looked like they were easily capable of squandering.

Michel Vorm did well to prevent Moussa Sissoko ending an impressive run with a thumping goal from distance shortly before the opening goal, which was followed by a major let-off for Pochettino’s men.

Yoan Gouffran was afforded time to swing in a cross from the right which found Emmanuel Riviere unmarked, only for the frontman to direct wide from close range, unaware the offside flag was raised.

Sissoko stung the palms of Vorm from 25 yards as Newcastle’s search for a leveller continued – a task Spurs attempted to make more difficult as half-time approached.

Kane looked likeliest to provide a second Spurs goal and, thanks to Gouffran’s shocking backpass, was allowed to burst forward and unleash a fierce drive just wide.

The academy graduate was proving a nuisance and looked to have won a penalty after going down under pressure from Fabricio Coloccini, only for referee Andre Marriner to infuriate Pochettino by waving play on.

If the Spurs head coach was concerned about that costing his side, those fears were alleviated seconds into the second half.

When the sides last met here Sammy Ameobi’s moments after the restart was the catalyst to Newcastle’s win, whereas this time it was the hosts celebrating when Chadli’s low strike crept past Alnwick.

It was a sucker punch Pardew’s men were unable to recover from, with Remy Cabella and Riviere somehow unable to turn home Ayoze Perez’s cross.

The Magpies’ need for a goal was leaving spaces at the back and Vlad Chiriches forced a save from Newcastle’s third-choice goalkeeper.

A goal-line clearance from Haidara prevented Vertonghen extending Spurs’ lead, but fans’ favourite Kane soon added a third, collecting a pass from Townsend to coolly slot home.

It was Kane’s last action of the night, but his replacement carried on where he left off as Soldado reacted quickly to tap home after Alnwick parried Eriksen’s fizzing drive.

Townsend and Soldado had attempts shortly afterwards and, at the other end, Vorm was held firm under pressure from Perez and substitute Adam Armstrong as Spurs secured their semi-final spot.

Read more at ESPN

League Cup: Derby 1-3 Chelsea

Filipe Luis’ stunner helped Chelsea clinch a routine 3-1 win over 10-man Derby and move into the Capital One Cup semi-final.

The defender’s superb free kick and Eden Hazard’s opener made it a comfortable night for Jose Mourinho at the iPro Stadium.

Derby briefly rallied after Craig Bryson pulled a late goal back but their hopes ended when Jake Buxton was sent off for a foul on Loic Remy and Andre Schurrle added a third.

The visitors lost Kurt Zouma after a serious-looking collision with goalkeeper Petr Cech but they were in cruise control and rarely got out of third gear.

It was a reminder to the Rams, should they earn promotion to the Premier League, of the challenges they face.

Jose Mourinho issued his intent as Cesc Fabregas, Cesar Azpilicueta, John Terry and Didier Drogba — who came off injured — started while Derby boss Steve McClaren made just two changes.

Buxton came in for the suspended Ryan Shotton in defence while Will Hughes replaced Jeff Hendrick in midfield.

Third in the Championship, the Rams competed well with the top flight leaders without creating any openings while Chelsea were comfortable despite failing to threaten themselves.

But County hit the self destruct button on 23 minutes to gift the visitors the lead.

Richard Keogh was robbed on the edge of the Derby box by Hazard, he played a one-two with Fabregas and the Belgium international danced past three challenges to fire into the bottom corner.

It was ruthless Chelsea’s first shot on target. The goal settled them as Luis immediately fired straight at Lee Grant.

Aside from a flurry of corners late in the half Cech was a spectator, until he clattered into Zouma while he punched away the final corner a minute before the break.

The defender was poleaxed and needed treatment but while their club doctors attended to the defender Chelsea were frustrated by the stretcher-bearers.

Angered by their slow speed Fabregas and Azpilicueta grabbed the stretcher and helped carry it to their stricken teammate.

Branislav Ivanovic replaced him as half-time came, which gave Derby chance to regroup.

And they came close soon after the break when Hughes met Johnny Russell’s cutback but Cech pushed his low effort wide.

The chance briefly reinvigorated the Rams only for Chelsea to brilliantly extend their lead on 56 minutes.

It seemed too much to ask when Luis lined up a 30-yard free kick after Drogba was clipped, only for the defender to fire in a wonderful effort which flashed past Grant.

Again, Derby were silenced as Chelsea controlled the pace and tempo but the Rams grabbed a lifeline out of the blue with 19 minutes left.

Russell found Bryson on the edge of the area and the midfielder curled in off the post to give the hosts hope.

It disappeared though, on 78 minutes when Buxton was dismissed after he pulled Remy back as the striker ran through, much to the shock of his team-mates.

And, four minutes later, Chelsea wrapped up the win when Grant saved from Remy and Schurrle fired in the rebound.

Read more at ESPN