Tottenham cruise past West Ham to reach EFL Cup semis.
Tottenham Hotspur cruised past London rivals West Ham United with a 2-1 victory to book their place in the semi-finals of the EFL Cup for the second year in a row.
West Ham eliminated Manchester United and holders Manchester City to reach this stage but came out second best in a thrilling tie at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Steven Bergwijn and Lucas Moura scored either side of Jarrod Bowen’s equaliser in a frantic five-minute spell to give Spurs a slender lead at the midway stage.
Antonio Conte’s side kept their opponents at arm’s length in a half with little action, albeit equally as tense, the second half to remain on course for back-to-back finals in this competition.
Wednesday visitors shut out United and City in the previous two rounds but fell behind on Wednesday when Bergwijn exchanged passes with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and finished from close range.
Hugo Lloris twice denied Tomas Soucek as West Ham produced a strong response that saw them level matters through Bowen, who showed great footwork to find space and pick out the far corner after Eric Dier had given away possession.
That was a deserved goal for the visitors, but they were behind once again two minutes later as Bergwijn dribbled through the opposition defence and squared the ball for Lucas to convert from six yards.
Without COVID-positive forward Michail Antonio, the Hammers were relying on Bowen to lead their attack and the versatile forward would have been in again if not for Lloris’ quick instincts to come off his line.
Spurs introduced Son Heung-min to partner Harry Kane in an attempt to kill off the contest but had to survive a scare at the other end when the lively Soucek’s cross looped up and hit the top of the crossbar in the closing moments.
Tottenham had lost their previous two meetings with rivals, West Ham, in all competitions and was second-best on Wednesday in terms of the sides’ expected goals (xG) return (1.23 compared to 1.82).
But Conte’s side ultimately did enough to advance through and reach the semi-finals for the 17th time – only Liverpool (18) have a better record – leaving them two games from silverware in the Italian’s first season in charge.
The Netherlands international has struggled to win a starting spot under Conte but that may change on the basis of this 60-minute cameo.
He scored an impressive opener, laid Spurs’ second goal on a plate for Lucas and led the way for shots (four) and touches in the opposition box (eight) before being replaced.
Kane ended a two-month scoring drought in the Premier League at the weekend, but he struggled to get involved again last night against West Ham and has now scored just three times in his last 13 appearances in this competition.
The England captain finished the contest with an xG of 0.09, which was only marginally higher than defensive team-mates Matt Doherty and Dier (both 0.06) and opposition holding midfielder Declan Rice (0.05).
Tottenham have another home London derby on Sunday as they face Crystal Palace in the Premier League. West Ham host Southampton on the same day at the London Stadium.