London – Chelsea secured a spot in the Carabao Cup semifinals after a dramatic showdown at Stamford Bridge, defeating Newcastle United in a penalty shootout.
Callum Wilson’s goal in the 16th minute seemed to be propelling Newcastle into the last four, until substitute Mykhailo Mudryk capitalized on veteran defender Kieran Trippier’s error deep into injury time, forcing the game into a penalty shootout.
Trippier, who has recently experienced a dip in form, then missed Newcastle’s second penalty, and after goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic saved Matt Ritchie’s penalty, Chelsea went from the brink of defeat to the sheer joy of reaching the semifinals.
Mudryk, Cole Palmer, Conor Gallagher, and Christopher Nkunku all scored in the penalty shootout for Chelsea, while only Callum Wilson and Bruno Guimaraes found the net for Newcastle, who suffered disappointment after being eliminated from the Champions League.
The draw for the semifinals will take place after the Liverpool vs. West Ham match on Wednesday, with the first leg scheduled to be played in the week commencing January 8.
After Mudryk’s equalizer, a Chelsea fan climbed over the advertising hoardings, celebrating in front of Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka before being led back into the crowd by stadium security. Referee Jarred Gillet spoke to security personnel before the penalty shootout began.
Chelsea may remember this dramatic moment at Stamford Bridge as the turning point in Mauricio Pochettino’s era. Pochettino’s side was facing a potential defeat until Trippier’s mistake provided them with hope through the equalizing goal.
Chelsea struggled to level the score after Wilson’s early goal, the result of a defensive error that allowed Wilson to capitalize. Despite missed opportunities, such as Bruno Guimaraes’ miraculous goal-line block from Raheem Sterling’s shot, Newcastle goalkeeper Dubravka excelled when called upon.
Even the debut of striker Nkunku, who returned after months on the sidelines following his £52 million move from RB Leipzig, couldn’t break the deadlock until Mudryk’s opportunistic moment.
The scenes of celebration, led by Pochettino on the Chelsea bench when the equalizer went in, and then when Petrovic saved Ritchie’s penalty, highlighted the importance of this win as the Argentine manager tries to establish a foundation at this volatile club.
Trippier’s Costly Mistake
Trippier has arguably been Newcastle’s most important figure on and off the pitch during the resurgence under Eddie Howe, but there is no denying that he is currently enduring a poor spell of form.
The English right-back was involved in all three goals conceded in the defeat to Everton and had a nightmare in the thrashing at Tottenham. He once again took responsibility for the loss as Newcastle almost secured a heroic victory in the dying moments.
Trippier came on as a substitute in the second half for the injured Emil Krafth and paid a heavy price for hesitation when heading the ball in the penalty area during four minutes of stoppage time. The ball dropped invitingly for Mudryk to beat Dubravka.
Newcastle’s players, who fought hard and were on the verge of reaching the semifinals, slumped to the ground in agony. There was a sense of inevitability that Trippier, who did not look confident, would miss his penalty, which he did by shooting well wide in front of the visiting fans at the Shed End.z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z
It was a bitter conclusion for Howe’s side, who also saw Anthony Gordon added to their lengthy injury list after he limped off in the second half.
The visitors might also have a justifiable complaint that Chelsea should have been reduced to 10 men in the opening minutes when Moises Caicedo was very fortunate to only receive a yellow card for a poor challenge on Gordon.
It has been a challenging week for Newcastle and Howe, with their challenges ending in both the Champions League and the EFL Cup. Howe must now lift his shattered players for the festive period and focus his side on making another bid to reach the Premier League’s top four.