EFL Cup scores: Spurs set up Chelsea semifinal, Liverpool win shootout to draw Arsenal

Tottenham will face Chelsea in the EFL Cup semifinals with Liverpool and Arsenal facing off in the other tie. Spurs, Liverpool and Chelsea all emerged victorious from Wednesday’s quarterfinals, joining Arsenal, who had beaten Sunderland 24 hours earlier. Here is how the three games played out:

Bergwijn sends Spurs to semis

Steven Bergwijn was Tottenham’s London derby hero, scoring one and providing the other as Spurs earned an absorbing 2-1 victory over West Ham.

Starting his first game since late October, Bergwijn was a man determined to prove his worth either to Antonio Conte or the many clubs who believe they might be able to snare a bargain from Spurs’ fringes. His performance in such a high-pressure occasion suggests Tottenham would be taking quite the risk letting him walk out of the door.

After a tense first half hour, he helped spark the game into life with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. The Dane slipped the ball into Bergwijn, posting up Craig Dawson in the box, before continuing his run to the right touchline. Bergwijn spun his centerback in a flash, darting to the near post to sweep home his second Tottenham goal since June 2020.

Immediately, the game, and in particular West Ham, burst into life. Twice Tomas Soucek rose highest to meet Nikola Vlasic crosses, Hugo Lloris springing into action to parry to safety. There was simply nothing Spurs could do to quell their rivals from dead balls and Craig Dawson should have done better than flick the ball over the bar when Declan Rice blocked off Spurs’ goalkeeper.

Tottenham’s reprieve lasted until the next passage of play. Soucek picked up on the loosest of passes out from the back by Eric Dier, Rice’s shot then flying towards Jarrod Bowen. It was all too easy for West Ham’s replacement striker to spin Dier, hardly justifying Antonio Conte’s suggestion he could be one of the best in the world in the middle of a back three, and fire in with his right foot.

West Ham had dominated a breathless five-minute spell but were undone by Bergwijn once more as he drove beyond Manuel Lanzini, cutting the ball back to Lucas Moura. Though the ball deflected off Ben Johnson, Alphonse Areola might have felt he could have done more than let the ball roll under his body, undoing so much of the good work his teammates had done beforehand.

This time Spurs defended their lead with far more composure, keeping plenty of bodies back in the box and challenging West Ham to create anything from slow possession. It is not something that suited David Moyes’ side until Said Benrahma came on to offer some ingenuity. At the other end, substitute Heung-min Son saw his touch desert him in the box, such a rare occurrence, with 17 minutes left.

It was the only real chance to come Spurs’ way, Conte’s side retreating ever further toward their penalty area as they looked to preserve their one-goal lead, taking every second Chris Kavanagh would allow them to over free kicks and throw ins. It might easily have backfired had Andriy Yarmolenko’s shot deflected an inch lower rather than against the crossbar. The Hammers’ four-decade wait for a major trophy goes on but Spurs are moving closer to their first piece of silverware since 2008.

Liverpool win shootout after six-goal thriller

Leicester City twice threw away two-goal leads to a weakened Liverpool side, EFL Cup star Takumi Minamino striking a late equalizer for the Reds before a pair of saves from Caoimhin Kelleher in the penalty shootout took the eight-time champions into the last four.

Jurgen Klopp has never offered much indication that he is overly enamoured with the EFL Cup, going so far as to send assistant Pep Lijnders to carry out pre-match press conferences in his stead, and his selection at Anfield made clear that his priorities were elsewhere. Though senior players such as Jordan Henderson and Roberto Firmino did feature, it was in a side that bore 10 changes from Sunday’s draw with Tottenham, 19-year-old Tyler Morton the only player to keep his place in a side that included a further four youngsters. Still, those who did play eventually proved their worth in a thrilling clash.

It was perhaps no surprise then that this cobbled-together XI were twice ripped apart by Jamie Vardy early on, the veteran striker punishing the sloppy play of Billy Koumetio and Joe Gomez before finishing powerfully. However, Liverpool were not minded to simply give up on this tie and a thumping drive from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain halved the deficit.

For a time, Liverpool were controlling the game; however, James Maddison would restore the two goal lead with a thumping drive from 30 yards out. There was perhaps some fortune in how the Leicester No. 10 saw the ball break in his direction after a duel with Morton but he exploited that opportunity in emphatic fashion, arrowing a shot straight down the middle of Kelleher’s goal. Such was the ferocity with which it was hit you could hardly blame the keeper for not getting all that close.

The second half brought with it the introduction of Diogo Jota. It took the forward time, but when the chance came his way his impact was telling; picking up the ball as it pinballed around the Leicester third he stepped into the box and thumped a shot across Kasper Schmeichel.

Jota might have drawn the Reds level with eight minutes to go, flicking an instinctive head at Naby Keita’s shot, but Schmeichel dived heroically to glove the ball to safety. The pressure eventually told in the final minute of added time, Takumi Minamino setting the stage for a thrilling finale as he showed composure amid the melee around the box. The Japan international had the chance to continue his starring run in the League Cup from the resulting penalties; after Luke Thomas had seen his saved by Kelleher Minamino stood poised to win the quarterfinal from 12 yards out only for his rising effort to scrape the top of the crossbar on its way into the stands.

Still, Kelleher rose to the moment again, getting down swiftly to his left to block Ryan Bertrand’s tame effort, allowing Jota to fire Liverpool into the semifinals from the penalty spot.

Chelsea strike late to knock out Brentford

Thomas Tuchel’s substitutions won the day for a much-changed Chelsea as the Blues overcame west London rivals Brentford 2-0 to book their place in the last four.

Though goals were in short supply early on, there were chances at both ends of the Brentford Community Stadium, Kepa Arrizabalaga continuing his impressive run of League Cup form with first-half saves from Yoane Wissa and Rico Henry. A Chelsea side that included one player aged 17 and two 18 year olds — Jude Soonsup-Bell Xavier Simons and Harvey Vale — with the latter going close just before the break when he headed a Cesar Azpilicueta cross straight at Alvaro Fernandez.

Thomas Tuchel was not minded to let this tie go to penalties, throwing in the likes of Christian Pulisic, Jorginho and N’Golo Kante, the latter despite his manager having insisted pre-match that he would not even be involved in the squad. The substitutes certainly made an impact, Kante wriggling into space on the edge of the area before finding an overlapping Reece James. The wing back’s delivery was customarily teasing, forcing Jansson to stick out a clearing boot with which he could only divert the ball into the roof of the net.

Then it was Pulisic’s turn, drawing a foul from Fernandez to earn a penalty that Jorginho duly converted. Chelsea find themselves in the semis for the fourth time in eight years, still in the mix for five trophies at Christmas.

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