Middlesbrough are the only team in this year’s EFL Cup Semifinal that does not come from the English Premier League. Now managed by former Manchester United captain and midfielder Michael Carrick, the team from the EFL Championship, the second tier of English football took on Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea in the first leg of the EFL Cup Semifinal at Riverside Stadium, and the underdogs of the Last Four of this domestic cup competition surprised everyone by winning the game by the smallest margin of difference.
Hackney’s Goal Separates Both Sides Going Into the Second Leg
Carrick’s Middlesbrough are currently the 12th best team in the EFL Championship, having lost three of their last five games in all competitions, whereas Chelsea, who sit at the 10th place after 20 Matchdays in the English Premier League, won five out of six games in all tournaments of late.
On top of more than 70% in terms of ball possession, Chelsea had 18 shots during the 90 minutes plus added as compared to Middlesbrough’s six, with five on them hitting on target, but these efforts went to no avail as they struggled to score against Carrick’s home side, and even went 1-0 down after the first 37 minutes of the game.
26-year-old Daniel Barlaser sent a decent long ball to unleash his teammate Isaiah Jones at the right flank from the middle park of the pitch, allowing the winger to break into the penalty box. Jones took his time on the ball and cheekily set up 21-year-old Hayden Hackney with a ground delivery, and the young England player put the ball behind the back of the net for the second time in 21 appearances for Middlesbrough in the 2023/2024 Season. Chelsea were unable to rally themselves back into the game, allowing Middlesbrough to secure a famous win over the Blues, thus bringing the one-goal advantage to the second leg of this EFL Cup Semifinal clash at Stamford Bridge two weeks later.
Carrick on Middlesbrough’s Upset on Chelsea: “Tonight Was a Really Special Night.”
Former Manchester United captain Carrick could not hide his joy of leading Middlesbrough beat Chelsea at home. The 42-year-old stated: “Listen, it’s very special. There’s totally two sides to this one: there’s the game tonight and what we had to go through and suffer a little bit to find a way to win, and there’s obviously the fact that there’s another game. I have to credit the players and celebrate their performance and effort, because it’s not easy at all to beat a team like that with the quality that they’ve got and to suffer the kind of injuries that we had as well early on – as if we didn’t have enough injuries to start with.”
“Tonight was a really special night, the atmosphere, Hayden scoring, it was such a good night for us, so we’ve got to take that as a one-off and enjoy that to be honest. The second leg is a whole new ball game and we know what we’re walking into and he challenges we face. Honestly, it couldn’t happen to a nicer lad. He’s everything we could ever hope for in a player – he’s humble, he’s hard-working, he’s hugely talented, obviously, and great to work with,” added the ex-England international, who had 34 international appearances for the Three Lions from 2001 to 2015.
The losing Chelsea manager of this EFL Cup Semifinal matchup Pochettino said this: “We had too many chances to score where we didn’t score – that is football. Of course we are disappointed. It is the first half of the tie. We have another 90 minutes at Stamford Bridge and we have to be positive. We made some mistakes and we were punished for that. If we assess the performance, overall we were the better side, we create more chances, we have clear chances. But we didn’t score and we were not clinical and that has happened a lot this season – so many games we didn’t win because we weren’t clinical enough.”
View this post on Instagram
The second leg of this EFL Cup Semifinal between Middlesbrough and Chelsea at Stamford Bridge will take place in a fortnight’s time, while the other matchup in this stage of the domestic cup will see Liverpool taking on Fulham at Anfield for the first leg tonight and the second leg at Craven Cottage on 24th January 2024. Check out AsiaSport.com if you wish to watch these games on the best live stream platform available!