Harry Kane fired Tottenham Hotspurs a step closer to the League Cup final with a 1-0 win over Chelsea in the semifinal first leg on Tuesday.
Pochettino’s side are chasing their first trophy since winning the 2008 League Cup at the expense of Chelsea, and Kane’s first-half spot-kick, awarded via VAR, settled a hard-fought encounter to keep Tottenham on course for a first League Cup final appearance since their 2015 defeat against the Blues.
It was another frustrating night for Chelsea, who recovered from a sluggish start to dominate the second half without turning their possession into goals – a familiar tale of woe for Maurizio Sarri’s men.
Kane was making his first League Cup start in 1204 days, dating back to 2015, and he almost announced his return to the competition in spectacular fashion when his overhead kick from Kieran Trippier’s cross forced Kepa Arrizabalaga into action.
Tottenham were the more vibrant and cohesive force and their impactful start was rewarded with Kane’s 27th-minute opener.
Kane’s well-timed run beat the Chelsea offside trap and Kepa came hurtling off his line and clattered into the striker.
After a delay while VAR confirmed Kane was onside, referee Michael Oliver awarded a spot-kick and the England captain stepped up to smash his shot past Kepa for his 20th club goal this season.
The Blues showed more poise as ‘false nine’ Eden Hazard’s influence finally grew, but despite getting the better of the second half, Spurs held firm for the vital win.