Late goals help Chelsea beat Brentford to reach semis
Chelsea reached their third major semi-final in 11 months under Thomas Tuchel after scoring two late goals to overcome west London neighbours Brentford in the Carabao Cup quarter-final.
An own goal by Sweden defender Pontus Jansson put the Blues ahead before Jorginho’s penalty ensured his side reached their first semi-final in the competition for three years.
With his selection plans disrupted by Covid-19 and injuries, Chelsea boss Tuchel gave debuts to three teenagers including 18-year-old Harvey Vale, who headed his side’s best chance of the first half straight at the keeper.
But it was Brentford who carved out the better openings before half-time with Kepa Arrizabalaga marking his rare start with three fine saves to deny Yoane Wissa, Mathias Jensen and Rico Henry.
Henry almost scored an own goal at the other end before Jansson inadvertently sliced Reece James’ cross past Alvaro Fernandez.
Substitute Jorginho doubled the lead after Fernandez brought down Christian Pulisic.
Blues turn to youth but senior stars make the difference
Tuchel went onto the pitch at the final whistle to congratulate his players and acknowledge the travelling support after a hard-earned success.
After one victory in their five previous matches, this was a night where the result was more important than the performance.
As well as Vale, Chelsea gave debuts to 17-year-old forward Jude Soonsup-Bell and 18-year-old midfielder Xavier Simons, a former Brentford academy player.
Soonsup-Bell was aged just eight when Cesar Azpilicueta, one of three players who also started the 0-0 draw with Wolves last Sunday, made his Chelsea debut in 2012.
The Blues ended up with Jorginho, James, Pulisic, Mason Mount and N’Golo Kante coming off the bench, though, to make an impact as the tie was locked at 0-0 before Jansson’s own goal.
The move started with a James throw-in deep inside his own half and ended with the England defender supplying the cross which led to the Brentford centre-back’s misfortune.
Jorginho’s penalty sealed victory but Brentford, who reached the semi-finals last season, gave a good account of themselves and will now look to consolidate their position in the Premier League following a solid start to the season.