Moussa Sissoko and Heung-Min Son were on target as Tottenham eased into the Carabao Cup final after overcoming Brentford 2-0 on Tuesday night.
Sissoko scored his first goal since December 2019 to break the deadlock with a well-placed header (12), with Son’s emphatic finish (70) doubling Tottenham’s lead seven minutes after Ivan Toney’s close-range strike was ruled out by VAR for offside.
Brentford’s hopes of reaching Wembley were ended in the final six minutes when Josh Dasilva was dismissed for a dangerous challenge on Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg that was missed by referee Mike Dean in real-time, with the red card shown upon review.
Tottenham have been chasing silverware for 13 years, since lifting this trophy under Juande Ramos in 2008, and they will now await the winners of the Manchester derby in the other semi-final on Wednesday, live on Sky Sports.
Tottenham: Lloris (6), Aurier (7), Sanchez (7), Dier (7), Reguilon (7), Sissoko (8), Hojbjerg (8), Lucas Moura (7), Ndombele (7), Son (8), Kane (7).
Subs: Winks (6), Tanganga (n/a), Davies (6), Vinicius (n/a).
Brentford: Raya (6), Dalsgaard (5), Pinnock (6), Sorensen (5), Henry (6), Da Silva (5), Janelt (5), Jensen (5), Mbeumo (6), Toney (6), Canos (5).
Subs: Marcondes (6), Forss (n/a), Fosu (n/a).
Man of the match: Moussa Sissoko.
Jose dreaming of more League Cup success
Neither manager shied away from the magnitude of the game, with Jose Mourinho describing it as the biggest encounter of his Spurs career while Brentford boss Thomas Frank accepted this was “unknown territory” with the Bees seeking to reach their first League Cup final.
Frank promised his side would attack, with the added complication of 30 minutes of extra-time if the game was ended all-square after 90 minutes – but his team’s momentum garnered from a 16-game unbeaten run was spiked inside 12 minutes.
Sergio Reguilon was invited onto the ball down the left flank by Hojbjerg and the Spaniard had far too much time to pick out the ghosting run of Sissoko in between Ethan Pinnock and Mads Sorensen for a precise header beyond David Raya into the far corner.
It was Sissoko’s first goal since netting in Tottenham’s 5-0 victory over Burnley just over a year ago, ending a run of 36 matches in all competitions without scoring – and moments later, Son drew a smart save from Raya.
This lesser-spotted London derby was Mourinho’s 24th semi-final. The teams last met in 2000 – in the same month that the Spurs boss began his managerial career with Benfica – and the hosts were barely troubled during the opening half an hour.
Tottenham named a strong side for the Carabao Cup semi-final against Brentford. Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Tanguy Ndombele all started, with Jose Mourinho making five changes from the side that beat Leeds at the weekend. Serge Aurier, Davinson Sanchez, Sergio Reguilon, Moussa Sissoko and Lucas Moura were the players coming in.
Brentford made one change as they chase a first ever League Cup final appearance, with Pontus Jansson replaced by Mads Bech Sorensen.
Ivan Toney wrestled off Davinson Sanchez to meet Bryan Mbeumo’s cross but Hugo Lloris made his first comfortable save with 34 minutes gone.
The visitors had knocked out four Premier League sides without conceding from open play to reach the last four, and Frank’s side began to slowly bare their teeth as Eric Dier’s headed clearance was lashed back towards goal by Dasilva but blocked by Son.
On the stroke of half-time, Spurs nearly doubled their lead in fortuitous circumstances as Son’s corner was glanced towards his own net by Toney, forcing Raya into rearguard action as he backpedalled and clawed the ball away from a certain goal.
Before the restart, Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp said: “Brentford have played on the edge. They’ve not quite believed they can get something out of this, and they have to take a few risks now. They’ve played within themselves and they’re a better side than they’ve shown in that first half.”
Sergi Canos, on a booking from the 14th minute, was fortunate not to see red when he chopped down Lucas Moura, but Brentford were denied a leveller within four minutes of the second period. Mbeumo wriggled free from Sanchez and drove into the Spurs box to set up Toney but his close-range shot forced a last-ditch block from Serge Aurier.
Aurier then showed the attacking side to his game as he ran onto Moura’s pass inside to escape Mathias Jensen but his shot cleared Raya’s crossbar. On the hour mark, Vitaly Janelt was very nearly punished for over-playing in defence as Sissoko nipped in and crossed for Son to volley a yard wide.
Getting to this stage was an achievement for Brentford with no previous side in the club’s 131-year history had managed, and they thought they had restored parity when Toney converted from close range after Pinnock’s header had initially been saved by Lloris – but VAR Peter Bankes confirmed to referee Dean that the Brentford striker was fractionally beyond Sissoko, Spurs’ last defender.
Seven minutes later, Spurs found the elusive second goal to put the tie to bed. Hojbjerg was typically involved to start the move as he fed Harry Kane, and once the England captain had picked out Tanguy Ndombele, Son was on his way.
The South Korean was too fast for Henrik Dalsgaard and his shot too powerful for Raya with his 11th goal in his last 16 appearances easing any nerves among Spurs supporters.
Kane ought to have made it three when he ran onto Hojbjerg’s clever free-kick to be thwarted by Raya before Son turned provider for Ndombele but his shot from an acute angle smacked the post.
The night ended on a sour note for Brentford as Dasilva’s poor control led to a reckless challenge on Hojbjerg, leaving a scar down the Dane’s left shin. Red was the only option and Dean didn’t require too many replays from the pitchside monitor to confirm the VAR decision.
It was an unsavoury end to a Tottenham procession. Mourinho is still competing for honours on four fronts this term, but the Portuguese has a long-held affinity with this competition having tasted success in England for the first time by winning this competition with Chelsea back in 2005.
The prospect of facing his former club Manchester United or a date with Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City will be a happy accompaniment as he continues Tottenham’s fight on four fronts.
The 2020/2021 Carabao Cup final has been pushed back from February to April in the hope that more supporters will be able to attend Wembley on the new date.
The match had initially been scheduled for February 28 but is now set to be played on April 25, with kick off at 4pm, live on Sky Sports.
Tottenham are in FA Cup third-round action on Sunday as they travel to face Northern Premier League Division One side Marine at 5pm. Brentford host Middlesbrough at 6pm on Saturday in the same competition.