LONDON (AP) — Tottenham staged a second-half comeback before eliminating Chelsea on penalties to reach the quarterfinals of the League Cup on Tuesday.
The first nine penalties were all successfully converted before Chelsea’s Mason Mount missed the target to ensure Tottenham advanced 5-4 in the shootout after the game ended 1-1.
Tottenham, playing its second of three games in a four-day span, was completely overwhelmed by Chelsea in a first half when Timo Werner scored his first goal for the west London club.
Sergio Reguilón gave the ball away on his Tottenham debut at left back before Werner scored in the 19th minute.
But the recruit from Real Madrid made amends in the second half when Jose Mourinho’s side was transformed, showing the threat missing before the break.
Reguilón chipped the ball over for Erik Lamela, who got ahead of Emerson Palmieri to net the equalizer in the 83rd minute past goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, who was making his debut in the Chelsea goal.
No extra time is played in the League Cup, so the game went straight to penalties and Tottenham scored all its spot kicks in a shootout without the usual pressure coming from the stands. Games are being played in empty stadiums still due to the pandemic.
“We fought until the end and got the draw to go ahead with the penalties,” Lamela said. “This team really wanted to win and now I want to enjoy it. We’re very happy to win the game, it means a lot and every day we need to play like this.
“The first half was difficult, they had a lot of possession and we tried to press but it was difficult. In the second half we pressed higher and started to play like we wanted.”
Tottenham, which was held to a draw by Newcastle in the Premier League on Sunday, returns to action in its stadium on Thursday to play Maccabi Haifa in the Europa League qualifying playoffs and then plays at Manchester United on Sunday.
“The football authorities, with so many rules which are in place, should be forbidding a player to play two matches in 48 hours,” Mourinho said.
One Tottenham player had to briefly duck out of the game.
Eric Dier rushed off the pitch for a toilet break in the second half, with an angry Mourinho chasing after him down the tunnel.
“After playing on Sunday and tonight it wasn’t easy,” Dier said. “Maybe that’s one of the reasons I had to run off the pitch in the second half. He (Mourinho) wasn’t happy but there was nothing I could do about it, nature was calling.”