However, even if it didn’t result in a penalty, that inexplicable refereeing decision and the pause it caused allowed Tottenham to catch their breath and swung the game’s momentum in the home side’s favour, as shown when Kepa was needed again to produce a good save and keep out an Emerson Royal header.
It was further underlined when Spurs had the ball in the back of our net shortly afterwards, after Jorginho had been dispossessed in a dangerous area, allowing Kane to receive the ball wide and beyond the goalkeeper and slot into the bottom corner. Once again the home fans were silenced by VAR, though, as replays showed Kepa had stepped up cleverly to play Kane offside, as only Sarr on the line was between him and the goal.
Seeing the game out
Tuchel clearly wasn’t happy with what he was seeing on the pitch, opting for an almost immediate change of shape and personnel. Thiago Silva, Marcos Alonso and Hakim Ziyech all came on as we reverted to a back three, with Alonso and Azpilicueta as wing-backs for the last 20 minutes of the game. That allowed us to regroup and start playing by instinct again, just as Tottenham seemed to be gaining the upper hand, especially when the fresh legs of N’Golo Kante and Ruben Loftus-Cheek were added in midfield.
We then took control back again, and what followed was as professional an ending to a match as you could hope for. The Blues kept possession where possible and Tottenham at arm’s length throughout the closing stages of the tie, comfortable in our three-goal lead, despite a long break in play with a few minutes left due to a medical incident in the crowd behind Kepa’s goal.
Our place in the final never really seemed in doubt in north London, though. We will now end a Carabao Cup campaign we have played exclusively in the captial at Wembley against either Liverpool or Arsenal, who play the first leg of their semi at Anfield tomorrow night.