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Middlesbrough 1-0 Chelsea: Wasteful Blues lose the first round of Carabao Cup semi-final

Chelsea’s wastefulness was evident in their 1-0 defeat to Middlesbrough in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg on Tuesday.

Despite dominating possession and controlling the stats sheet, Mauricio Pochettino’s side lacked creativity and inspiration, with Cole Palmer missing three excellent chances. The hosts Middlesborough managed to secure the win with Hayden Hackney tapping home from close range, handing them an advantage going into the second-leg of Carabao Cup semi-final.

Middlesbrough began the match with high energy, creating moments of panic, but injuries to Emmanuel Latte Lath and Alex Bangura disrupted their momentum, allowing Chelsea to gain possession control.

In the early stages, Cole Palmer forced a save from Thomas Glover, and Levi Colwill’s header went over the bar. The first significant chance saw Palmer receive a loose pass from Jonny Howson but drag his shot wide.

Boro took the lead against the run of play, as a long ball sent Isaiah Jones behind Colwill, and his cut-back was tapped home by Hackney. In stoppage time, Enzo Fernandez’s tame shot was spilled by Glover to Palmer, who failed to control his close-range effort, keeping Boro in the lead at halftime.

The second half saw Noni Madueke’s header saved by Glover, and Conor Gallagher’s volley missed the target. Chelsea pressed for an equalizer, but their ball quality was poor. Weak shots, feeble passes, and aimless dribbles characterized the Blues’ play as Boro defended deep, allowing Chelsea to self-sabotage.

But the remainder of the game followed a similar pattern, with Chelsea fruitlessly seeking a goal that their performance did not merit.

Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino will be hoping to turn things around in the second leg and get into the Carabao Cup final, getting a crack at breaking his trophyless run in the Premier League.

Ethan Dempsey
Ethan Dempsey
Ethan is a lifelong football fan. When he is not obsessing over the Premier League games, Ethan likes to read fantasy tomes, watch football documentaries and waste hours upon hours on video games.
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