Chelsea seized control of their Carabao Cup semifinal against Tottenham Hotspur, beating their London rivals 2-0 in the first leg on Wednesday thanks to an early strike by Kai Havertz and an own goal by Spurs defender Ben Davies.
The Blues swamped their visitors right from the kickoff and, after a mix-up in the Spurs defence in the fifth minute, Havertz fired an angled shot that was goal-bound before it went in off the foot of Davinson Sanchez.
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Half an hour later, the dominant hosts got their second goal, albeit with a slice of luck, when Japhet Tanganga headed away a Hakim Ziyech free kick, only for the ball to rebound into the Spurs net off Davies' shoulder.
"It seems like a deserved win, an excellent result because it reflects the game, we could have scored more but it is hard to score against Tottenham," Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel told Sky Sports.
The win dented the hopes of Spurs, under former Chelsea coach Antonio Conte, of winning a first trophy since lifting the league cup in 2008. In that time, Chelsea have won 12 major trophies including three Premier League and two Champions League titles.
Regarding Spurs' performance, Conte said: "The first half, we struggled a lot from the start but we know that we are talking about one of the best teams in Europe, in the world, last season they won the Champions League. If you compare the two teams there is not a comparison. We are talking about a team ready to win -- today we have seen the difference between the two teams."
Tuchel restored record signing Romelu Lukaku to the team having dropped him for Sunday's 2-2 draw with Liverpool as punishment for the Belgian saying in an interview that he was unhappy with his role at Stamford Bridge.
Lukaku went close with a first-half header, created a chance for Ziyech after the break which the Moroccan wasted and hit an injury-time shot straight at Hugo Lloris.
"I was pretty sure [Lukaku] was not affected [by the controversy]. Even the last days he seemed relaxed, fine with the situation and mentally moved on," Tuchel added. "Romelu can handle pressure and adversity, it was a good performance, he contrinbued a lot to our defensive set up and had chances."
Chelsea also welcomed back Timo Werner after a period out with COVID-19. On as a substitute for Havertz at halftime, the German striker flashed a shot just wide and then failed to chip Lloris when clean through.
Spurs created a few chances in the second half but the only one that really troubled Chelsea came as late as the 90th minute when Bryan Gil, out wide, cut the ball back to fellow substitute Giovani Lo Celso whose shot was saved by Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Ziyech said he hoped Chelsea would not rue their missed chances to put the tie beyond the reach of Spurs.
"We forgot to finish the game, a lot of chances. Hopefully we get the job done there," the Moroccan told Sky Sports.
The second leg of the semifinal at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is due to take place on Jan. 12 and the winners will face either Arsenal or Liverpool.