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Chelsea reach Carabao Cup semi-finals after youngsters star in win at Brentford

MATT BARLOW AT THE BRENTFORD COMMUNITY STADIUM: A much-changed Chelsea side beat Brentford to reach the Carabao Cup semi-finals.
Brentford 0-2 Chelsea: Blues leave it late to reach Carabao Cup semi-finals with Jorginho penalty wrapping up victory after Pontus Jansson's own goal as youngsters star
  • A much-changed Chelsea side beat Brentford 2-0 in the Carabao Cup
  • An own goal 10 minutes from time by Pontus Jansson broke the deadlock
  • A penalty from Jorginho in the 85th sealed victory for Thomas Tuchel's side
  • Chelsea joined Tottenham, Arsenal and Liverpool in semi-final draw 

By Matt Barlow for the Daily Mail

Published: 21:43 GMT, 22 December 2021 | Updated: 01:54 GMT, 23 December 2021

Sometimes there is no substitute for a quality substitute, and with five at his disposal in the Carabao Cup, Thomas Tuchel was able to conjure his own creative solution to Chelsea's selection problems.

Tuchel started three teenage debutants, kept Brentford at bay thanks to a mixture of poor finishing and the brilliance of Kepa Arrizabalaga and won it with his stars from the bench in the second half.

N'Golo Kante and Reece James came on and combined to force the opener, sliced into his own goal by Pontus Jansson, in the 80th minute, before Chelsea added a second with a penalty won by Christian Pulisic and converted by Jorginho, both introduced at half time. 

Chelsea beat Brentford 2-0 to advance to the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup on Thursday
Chelsea beat Brentford 2-0 to advance to the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup on Thursday

Chelsea beat Brentford 2-0 to advance to the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup on Thursday

Brentford defender Pontus Jansson's own goal broke the deadlock in the 80th minute
Brentford defender Pontus Jansson's own goal broke the deadlock in the 80th minute

Brentford defender Pontus Jansson's own goal broke the deadlock in the 80th minute

Midfielder Jorginho clinched the win for Chelsea by converting a penalty in the 85th minute
Midfielder Jorginho clinched the win for Chelsea by converting a penalty in the 85th minute

Midfielder Jorginho clinched the win for Chelsea by converting a penalty in the 85th minute

'Very disciplined, very structured and within that structure a lot of quality,' purred Tuchel, whose reward is a date with Tottenham in the last four, his third semi-final in less than a year at Stamford Bridge.

'We deserve to be there, we wanted to be there. I am happy with the result and it was a brilliant performance given the circumstances and the line-up. Some were youngsters, and others leading the youngsters do not have many minutes, and in a place where it is tough to play, emotional normally.'

Brentford boss had Thomas Frank wished for a 'little Christmas miracle' but was left to rue a missed opportunity.

There have been some raucous nights of celebration at their new stadium this season and there may be more as they return to their first season in the Premier League, but this one will go down as an anti-climax.

'I wanted to win this game badly,' said Frank. 'I went as strong as I could with the team and made the subs to make it stronger. We are very disappointed. We missed an opportunity against a top-fside.

'They are the European champions, third in the Premier League and they have world-class players.  

Coach Thomas Tuchel turned to Chelsea’s next generation to ease the burden on his squad
Coach Thomas Tuchel turned to Chelsea’s next generation to ease the burden on his squad

Coach Thomas Tuchel turned to Chelsea's next generation to ease the burden on his squad

Thomas Frank's Brentford had a wonderful opportunity to beat their west London rivals
Thomas Frank's Brentford had a wonderful opportunity to beat their west London rivals

Thomas Frank's Brentford had a wonderful opportunity to beat their west London rivals

'Look at the team they finished the game with and probably 14 managers who would be very, very pleased with that team. More maybe. That's the difference. They created nothing. Two minor mistakes gave them the goals.'

Brentford were playing for the first time in almost a fortnight after two Covid-related postponements and seemed suppressed by expectations, which crept up from the moment Chelsea revealed their young team.

Jude Soonsup-Bell, Harvey Vale and Xavier Simons completed a half century of academy graduates to have represented the club in the Roman Abramovich era. Soonsup-Bell and Vale were born this side of the Abramovich takeover in the summer of 2003.

Frank's team sat deep and sought to spring out on the turnover of possession, and still created three excellent chances in the first half.

Rico Henry and Bryan Mbeumo combined on the left and Mbeumo picked out Yoane Wissa, who was unmarked in front of goal. There was no flag despite a hint of offside and Wissa ought to have scored. His header lacked the power to beat Kepa, who pushed it away. 

Jorginho and Reece James were among the first-teamers Tuchel turned to at half-time
Jorginho and Reece James were among the first-teamers Tuchel turned to at half-time

Jorginho and Reece James were among the first-teamers Tuchel turned to at half-time

Substitute Christian Pulisic won a penalty when he was brought down by Alvaro Fernandez
Substitute Christian Pulisic won a penalty when he was brought down by Alvaro Fernandez

Substitute Christian Pulisic won a penalty when he was brought down by Alvaro Fernandez

Brentford opened Chelsea up again in similar fashion. Henry clipped the ball over from the left and midfielder Mathias Jensen arrived into space at the back post. His header forced another save from the Chelsea goalkeeper.

Kepa made another important save before the half-time interval, closing down the angle and making a block from Henry. 'He was a big factor,' said Tuchel when asked about his goalkeeper, set for more games when Edouard Mendy goes to the Africa Cup of Nations next month.

In the first half, Chelsea enjoyed plenty of midfield possession with little intensity and without troubling goalkeeper Alvaro Fernandez. Ross Barkley sent a volley skidding well wide from a cross by Soonsup-Bell, and Cesar Azpilicueta fired over from distance. 

Jorginho celebrates with Marcos Alonso (right) after clinching the win from the penalty spot
Jorginho celebrates with Marcos Alonso (right) after clinching the win from the penalty spot

Jorginho celebrates with Marcos Alonso (right) after clinching the win from the penalty spot

Simons drew a save from Fernandez with a low drive sent flashing across the surface from 25 yards before their best chance of the first half fell to Vale, who slipped away from his marker to meet a cross from Azpilicueta but was unable to guide his header past the 'keeper.

Chelsea improved in the second half with Jorginho at the heart of things. Fernandez made a scrambling save to prevent an own goal from Henry and twice from Barkley. Brentford packed in tightly around their penalty area to absorb the pressure but Tuchel kept sending on the stars.

James made an instant impact with a swerving free-kick, punched away by Fernandez and collected by Barkley, who took aim once again. This time, his shot was closed down by Ethan Pinnock and diverted wide.

With penalties looming, Kante released James on the right and his low cross crashed into one of Jansson's shins and into the top corner. The second followed from the spot, when Pulisic was toppled by Fernandez and Jorginho scored his seventh penalty of the season. 

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