English League Cup | Chelsea, Fulham into semis after wins on penalties

Chelsea’s Mykhailo Mudryk celebrates with teammate Christopher Nkunku after scoring his side’s equaliser during the English League Cup quarterfinal match against Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge in London, on December 19, 2023.

Chelsea’s Mykhailo Mudryk celebrates with teammate Christopher Nkunku after scoring his side’s equaliser during the English League Cup quarterfinal match against Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge in London, on December 19, 2023.
| Photo Credit: AP

Chelsea and Fulham booked their place in the semi-finals of the League Cup on Tuesday when they followed up 1-1 draws with penalty-shootout wins over Newcastle United and Everton respectively, with Middlesbrough also making the last four.

Chelsea beat Newcastle 4-2 on penalties, at Stamford Bridge after substitute Mykhailo Mudryk kept the Blues alive with a 92nd-minute equaliser, while Fulham defeated Everton 7-6 in their shootout. Middlesbrough beat League One side Port Vale 3-0 to cruise into the last four.

Liverpool face West Ham United to decide the last semi-final spot on Wednesday.

Newcastle had appeared set to snatch a 1-0 win in west London until Kieran Trippier, on as a substitute, failed to cut out a Malo Gusto cross and allowed Mudryk, also on as a sub, to slot home, levelling the tie at 1-1 and taking it to penalties.

England defender Trippier turned a bad night into a disastrous one when he fired Newcastle’s second penalty wide before Matt Ritchie saw his effort saved athletically by Chelsea’s Djordje Petrovic, making only his second start in goal for the Blues.

“Trips is an incredibly strong character,” Newcastle manager Eddie Howe told reporters.

“When he’s given us so much, now’s our turn to support him and look after him the other way and that’s what we’ll do.”

Chelsea had gone behind in the 16th minute when Callum Wilson, surrounded by Chelsea defenders, pounced on an error by Benoit Badiashile who got the ball caught in his feet allowing Wilson to flick his finish past Petrovic.

The hosts dominated possession throughout the game but struggled to break down a well-drilled Newcastle defence.

They brought French forward Christopher Nkunku off the bench for his first competitive appearance for the Londoners having suffered a knee injury in pre-season shortly after his transfer from RB Leipzig.

But the expensively assembled Blues, who have struggled for a second straight season in the Premier League, had seemed destined to throw away a precious chance of silverware until Mudryk’s late strike.

“Obviously it means a lot. Sometimes things happen when you trust in each other and believe until the end,” the Ukrainian – who has struggled to find his feet since signing for Chelsea nearly a year ago – told Sky Sports.

“Sometimes when the game is tough you need to keep pushing and believe until the last second because it’s football and everything can happen.”

Mudryk was one of four Chelsea players to score in the shootout, along with Nkunku, Cole Palmer and Conor Gallagher.

Chelsea, in their first season under Mauricio Pochettino, are pinning their hopes on the domestic cups as they currently sit 10th in the Premier League and did not qualify for European competition.

The defeat for Howe’s Newcastle – without a major trophy since the 1950s – represents a second blow in the space of a week after they were eliminated from the Champions League last Wednesday.

Everton’s recent good run of results came to an end as they came back from a goal down to equalise with eight minutes remaining, but Fulham got the better of them from the penalty spot to silence the home crowd.

Toffees defender Michael Keane turned the ball into his own net early on to give Fulham the lead at Goodison Park, but a goal from substitute Beto eight minutes form time threw the home side a lifeline.

Both keepers saved a spot kick before Everton’s Idrissa Gueye struck a post with his hasty effort, and Fulham centre back Tosin Adarabioyo stepped up score to put the Londoners into the last four of the competition for the first time in their history.

Chelsea and Fulham secured their spots in the semi-finals of the English League Cup after winning their respective matches on penalties. Chelsea defeated Newcastle United 4-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw, with substitute Mykhailo Mudryk scoring a late equalizer to keep Chelsea in the game. Fulham, on the other hand, triumphed over Everton 7-6 in the shootout. Middlesbrough also advanced to the last four by beating Port Vale 3-0. Liverpool will face West Ham United to determine the final semi-finalist. Chelsea’s victory is significant as they are currently struggling in the Premier League and are relying on domestic cups for a chance at silverware. Newcastle’s loss comes as a blow, as they were eliminated from the Champions League last week. Everton’s good run of results came to an end with their defeat to Fulham. The English League Cup, also known as the Carabao Cup, is a prestigious competition in English football.

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