Middlesbrough shocked Chelsea in the League Cup semi-final, taking a 1-0 lead in the first leg. The match took place on 10th January 2024 at the Riverside stadium. Mauricio Pochettino, the Chelsea boss, lamented his team’s lack of cutting edge, as they failed to perform away from home once again. Hayden Hackney scored the only goal of the match in the 38th minute. This loss adds to Chelsea’s poor away form, having lost five of their last six away games and 21 times on the road since last season – the most among any Premier League team.
Despite losing their top scorer Emmanuel Latte Lath to injury within the first three minutes, Middlesbrough remained undeterred. Their manager, Michael Carrick, expressed his pride in the team, considering the setbacks they had faced. It was remarkable for them to defeat a team of Chelsea’s caliber.
It had been over 17 years since Middlesbrough had scored against Chelsea, with the Blues winning their last nine meetings by a combined score of 21-0. However, Middlesbrough ended that drought as Hayden Hackney scored eight minutes before halftime. Chelsea missed several opportunities to equalize before the break, with Cole Palmer failing to hit the target on two occasions.
In the second half, Chelsea dominated possession but struggled to find a breakthrough. Noni Madueke was their most promising player in attack but was eventually substituted. Middlesbrough held on to their lead and ensured their chances of reaching the Wembley final against Liverpool or Fulham remained alive.
The second leg of the semi-final will take place on 23rd January at Stamford Bridge.