Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri was all praise for club talisman Eden Hazard after Chelsea beat Tottenham Hotspur on penalties to reach their first Carabao Cup final in four years.
Coming into the match with a 1-0 deficit, Chelsea needed to defeat Spurs at Stamford Bridge in order to advance.
In the 27th minute, Eden Hazard’s corner was headed away by Fernando Llorente. However, it landed on the feet of N’Golo Kante who shot from outside the box to open the scoring for Chelsea. The goal was Kante’s first ever EFL Cup goal.
11 minutes later, Hazard doubled Chelsea’s lead after cashing in on a pass from Cesar Azpilicueta. Tottenham however, did not hold back and they pulled one back than after Fernando Llorente headed in Danny Rose’s cross.
Tottenham and Chelsea were 2-2 on aggregate after full-time and even after extra-time. So, the match went to penalties. After both teams converted their first spot-kick, Eric Dier’s skied his shot way over the bar and Chelsea had the advantage. Things got even better for Chelsea when goalkeeper Kepa saved Lucas Moura’s penalty.
David Luiz stepped up and scored the winning penalty as Chelsea advanced to the final where they will play reigning champions Manchester City at Wembley.
Prior to the semi-final, Sarri criticised Hazard but the Belgian rebounded by putting in a fine show against Spurs last night.
Following the match, Sarri said about Hazard, “I think Hazard was having fun. I had fun for 65 minutes watching Hazard. He was a little bit tired in the last part of the match, he ran a lot, but he played a fantastic, wonderful match.
The position is not a big problem, this match we played with another mind, motivation and determination. His qualities are more important than the position.”
Sarri continued, “The last three or four matches we had a problem, the problem was the motivation and the players stopped to have fun on the pitch. Now with that performance and result we can find enthusiasm again. We need to continue this motivation. That was very important.
The players reacted really well tonight. I was very happy with the performance before the penalties. If there had been a different outcome I would have still been happy. We deserved to win this game without penalties.”
Chelsea next play their FA Cup 4th round match against Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday.
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