Middlesbrough 1-0 Chelsea: Carabao Cup semi-final first leg – as it happened | Carabao Cup

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Chelsea’s players were apparently booed when they went over to applaud the away end. On the plus side, I guess they’ll never have to watch their team be relegated.

Full time: Middlesbrough 1-0 Chelsea

That’s it! Middlesbrough will go to Stamford Bridge in a fortnight with a slender advantage. To call it hard-earned would be an understatement. They endured the loss of two more players in the first half and defended heroically either side of Hayden Hackney’s 37th-minute goal.

At times they rode their luck – Cole Palmer missed two sitters – but they kept Chelsea’s possession-to-chances ratio relatively low.

Chelsea will still be favourites in the second leg, but Boro have a chance of getting to Wembley. That’s all anyone ever asked for.

90+4 min Mudryk’s big inswinging cross is headed across goal by Gilchrist; it hits Hackney and deflects into the side-netting for a corner.

90+2 min Mauricio Pochettino is chuntering away to anyone and everyone on the Chelsea bench. He has the face of a man who has just been told Kula Shaker did more for music in the 1990s than Massive Attack.

Mauricio Pochettino
When life gives you lemons… Photograph: Paul Currie/REX/Shutterstock

90+1 min Four minutes of added time. Crooks is coming back on, though he’s not exactly running like Calvin Smith.

90 min Crooks is struggling. Boro’s injury list is verging on the grotesque.

90 min: Chelsea substitution The lively Alfie Gilchrist comes on for Malo Gusto at right-back.

89 min Crooks is down but Chelsea play on. Eventually Clarke clears the ball and Chelsea stop the game to allow Crooks to receive treatment. I think he’s twisted his ankle.

88 min Mudryk’s speculative cross is headed away by Clarke, then another Mudryk cross is booted away at the near post by Fry.

86 min Gallagher overhits a cross that goes behind for a goalkick. Mauricio Pochetino stomps back to the bench in frustration.

85 min Gallagher’s shot from the edge of the area is desperately blocked by Fry. Anyone, anyone.

84 min Boro are defending from memory. If they pull this off it’ll be an outstanding victory, whatever happens in the second leg.

81 min A cross-shot from Broja just evades Sterling at the far post. A weary, injury-ravaged Boro are hanging on.

Broja has a shot
Boro are just about hanging on. Photograph: Simon Davies/ProSports/REX/Shutterstock

80 min “I agree with you that a Chelsea goal seems like it’s in the post, but on the other hand the Chelsea players don’t seem like they’re playing with urgency,” writes Kári Tulinius. “And I understand why. After the real peril of FA Cup matches, this two-legged affair seems devoid of risk. Unless Boro score another goal or two, it’s hard not to think Chelsea will turn it around at Stamford Bridge, even if they don’t score tonight.”

Human nature is the strangest thing.

78 min Chelsea will still expect to go through if it stays like this, though the scoreline will irritate them given how dominant they have been for most of the game. Boro have needed some luck; they’ve also defended admirably.

75 min It’s all Chelsea now. Sterling, who has had a poor game by his standards, cuts inside promisingly but then curls over the bar from the edge of the area.

73 min Mudryk sweeps a first-time shot from the edge of the area. It’s too close to Glover, who fumbles it but has time to grab it at the second attempt.

72 min This is Boro’s best spell of the half, perhaps the whole game. Coburn seizes upon an error from Thiago Silva but Gusto does well to force him wide.

69 min Gusto is down after being caught by a lunging tackle from Crooks, not dissimilar to Disasi’s challenge on Latte Lath at the start of the game. A foul wasn’t given but he is receiving treatment.

68 min Boro have started to threaten again on the break. Hackney plays an inviting square pass to Barlaser, who sprays over from 22 yards. Jones got in his way a little bit.

68 min “Millings has a point,” says Matt Dony. “There’s some great names on display tonight. But the high water mark was set (as it so often is) by Swansea. Not long ago, they had the magnificently monikered Angel Rangel AND Jazz Richards. Both in the same position. A battle for the right back spot has never sounded so pleasing on the ear.”

What about Gary and Phil Neville circa 1996?

Gary and Phil Neville
Gazza and Fizzer, in happier times Photograph: John Peters/Manchester United/Getty Images

66 min Chelsea have had 81 per cent of the possession in the second half. As I type that, Jones leads a promising break only to put his cross behind Coombs in the middle.

63 min: Chelsea substitution Mykhailo Mudryk and Armando Broja come on for Enzo Fernandez and Noni Madueke. Sterling moves to the right and Palmer goes to No10.

62 min It feels like a Chelsea goal is coming, although the last time I said something like that Boro took the lead.

61 min: Change for Gallagher! Chelsea’s frustration continues. Gusto’s first-time cross reaches Gallagher, who turns Fry smartly at the near post but drags his shot across goal and wide.

60 min “Wotcha Bob,” says Mac Millings, living life at a jaunty angle as always. “Is it just me, or are we living in a Golden Age of footballers’ names? Just these two depleted squads have at least two handfuls of names that simply trip off the tongue. From the clean assonant and alliterative simplicity of Hayden Hackney, Jamie Jones, Calum Kavanagh and Dylan Williams to the mellifluous monikers of Emmanuel Latte Lath and Bryant Akono Bilongo, there’s so much to enjoy.

“Mykhailo Mudryk both sounds and (with its two perfectly positioned ‘y’s) looks like a vampire’s name. Daniel Barlaser sounds like something Han Solo would have shot Greedo with, and Malo Gusto sounds (to this ignoramus, at least) like the Spanish for ‘Bad Taste.’ And Djordje Petrovic, Axel Disasi and Eugenio Deivid Washington are just incredibly cool footballer names for no reason that I can identify – they just are.

“So if you hate VAR and proposed Super Leagues, just read the team sheet aloud and fall in love with football all over again.”

Mac Millings rhapsodising about alliterative simplicity. You didn’t get this before the internet. And to think some people pine for those days.

59 min Gallagher wins the ball off Van den Berg in a dangerous area but Chelsea don’t make anything of it. That sums their night up, for richer and poorer. Their pressing has been very good.

57 min “Not on the topic of player-managers but something that’s been bugging me since I’ve seen it on Twitter and I need to get it out: there are people out there who believe Pep was a mediocre player,” sys Phil Podolsky. “Putting trophies aside for a moment, those of us old enough to have seen him play know he was a one off, a phenomenon.”

There are people on Twitter who think Roy Keane was a mediocre passer and the Sopranos isn’t funny. I wouldn’t lose too much sleep over it. (Yes, I know this is rich coming from me.)

Pep Guardiola and Lee Sharpe
The second-rate clogger Pep Guardiola holds off Lee Sharpe in the Champions League in 1994. Photograph: Colorsport/REX Shutterstock/REX_Shutterstock

55 min Disasi shoots from 30 yards and instantly regrets it.

53 min Chelsea’s best attack of the second half. Fernandez, on the left, curves a cross towards Madueke. He strains his neck muscles to force a header that is well held to his right by Glover.

51 min Boro are playing with greater purpose in possession at the start of the second half.

48 min Boro look threatening on the break, particularly when Jones has the ball. His dangerous cross towards Coburn is expertly headed away by Disasi at the far post.

Axel Disasi clears the danger in the Chelsea area as Josh Coburn lurks for Boro.
Axel Disasi clears the danger in the Chelsea area as Josh Coburn lurks for Boro. Photograph: Simon Davies/ProSports/REX/Shutterstock

46 min Peep peep! Chelsea begin the second half.

Half-time reading

Half time: Middlesbrough 1-0 Chelsea

Peep peep! Despite the loss of two more players through injury, Boro lead Chelsea thanks to Hayden Hackney’s well-taken goal. Chelsea haven’t played particularly well, yet Cole Palmer could easily have scored a hat-trick.

45+5 min The ball came to Palmer at a slightly awkward height. Even so, a player with his technical ability should probably have scored.

And now he’s missed another chance. He ran onto a pass from Caicedo on the right side of the area, moved smoothly back inside Clarke to create a shooting chance – and then sidefooted his shot too close to Glover.

45+4 min: Palmer misses another sitter! My word, that was odd. Enzo Fernandez hit a routine, chest-high shot from 25 yards that was spilled in front of goal by Glover. Palmer anticipated it superbly but then volleyed over from four yards.

Cole Palmer shoots at goal
Cole Palmer volleys over with the goal at his mercy. A huge miss for Chelsea. Photograph: Lee Smith/Action Images/Reuters

45+2 min After a long spell of Chelsea possession, Caicedo cracks an excellent effort from 25 yards that beats Glover and bounces just wide.

45 min There will be six minutes of added time, largely because of the injuries to Emmanuel Latte Lath and Alex Bangura.

42 min Jones and Colwill are having a really good battle on that side of the pitch. Jones is ahead on the judges’ cards after creating the goal.

40 min Madueke shoots wildly off target after another high press from Chelsea.

39 min “Player-managers,” considers Joe Pearson. “Klopp almost qualified with Mainz. Will we ever see another? I say no. Discuss.”

I’d say it’s very unlikely at the highest level because the job has become too vast. It’s slightly different in the lower leagues. Andy Hessenthaler will still be a player-manager at the age of 75.

38 min Gusto’s short pass to Disasi is stolen by Coburn, who moves into the area and is about to shoot when Gusto makes an important recovery challenge.

Barlaser’s early ball released Jones on the right side of the area. He twisted Colwill one way and then the other before sliding a low cross into the middle. Hackney arrived late and opened his body to guide a first-time shot past Petrovic. That’s a really good goal.

GOAL! Middlesbrough 1-0 Chelsea (Hackney 37)

So much for Boro being worn down: they’ve taken the lead!

Hayden Hackney scores
Hayden Hackney scores for Boro! Photograph: Paul Currie/REX/Shutterstock

35 min Chelsea are steadily wearing Boro down. After another corner is half cleared, Madueke swings a very deep cross that is headed wide by Caicedo. The angle was on the impossible side of tight.

32 min At the other end a quarter-chance for Crooks, who drags well wide from 20 yards.

31 min: Great chance for Palmer! A dodgy square pass from Howson is read and intercepted by Palmer, 25 yards from goal. He moves to the edge of the area, gives Glover the eyes and sweeps his shot just wide of the right-hand post. He should have scored.

Cole Palmer
What a chance for Cole Palmer! Photograph: Chris Lee/Chelsea FC/Getty Images

31 min “I’m as baffled as you are by officiating these days,” writes Gary Naylor, “but I’d be more inclined to accept the argument ‘…but he got the shot away’ as a defence to a penalty claim if anyone can claim to have heard ‘…but he got the pass away’ used to exonerate a bad challenge in the centre circle.”

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