Carabao Cup: Cole Palmer’s missed opportunities cause Chelsea to lose against Middlesbrough

Carabao Cup: Cole Palmer’s missed opportunities cause Chelsea to lose against Middlesbrough

In the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final, Middlesbrough defeated Chelsea 1-0 at Riverside Stadium despite Cole Palmer missing three consecutive opportunities.

After being denied by Boro keeper Tom Glover earlier, the England international missed three chances before Hackney’s goal in the 37th minute, which guaranteed Michael Carrick’s team a 1-0 lead when they travel to Stamford Bridge in two weeks.


Though manager Mauricio Pochettino named Thiago Silva, Levi Colwill, Enzo Fernandez, Moises Caicedo, Conor Gallagher, Raheem Sterling, and Palmer in a strong starting line-up, the big-spending Premier League club was unable to find top gear on a night when they managed to frustrate the team that defeated them in the 1998 final for extended periods of time.


Three days after suffering a devastating late loss to elite players, the Teessiders, for their part, were disciplined, tenacious, and a threat on the break.


Shortly after the game began, Colwill’s misdirected header put Emmanuel Latte Lath in position to score, but the striker misdirected his shot straight at goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic as defender Axel Disasi attempted in vain to stop him and caught him in the follow-through.


After receiving treatment, the Boro forward continued to struggle, but after just five minutes, he hobbled off to be replaced by Josh Coburn.


Chelsea retaliated, forcing Palmer into a full-length save, but the Teessiders took an early lead thanks to widemen Isaiah Jones and Alex Bangura, whose evening was cut short by a hamstring injury minutes later.


Aside from the sporadic bursts from Noni Madueke, neither side could muster a meaningful chance until Colwill headed home Palmer’s cross in the 29th minute. However, Jonny Howson was lucky to escape with a terrible crossfield pass that put Palmer through on goal two minutes later, only for the 21-year-old to wastefully drag his shot wide.


With just eight minutes left in the first half, Jones was put in behind Colwill by Dan Barlaser, who then crossed to Hackney at the near post, who stabbed past Petrovic to make it costly for Chelsea.


After Glover had misplayed Enzo Fernandez’s long-range effort, Palmer had two fantastic chances to tie the score in stoppage time, but he was unable to beat the goalie after making a rightward cut inside.


On their return, the visitors showed patience, but they mostly played in front of Boro, who appeared at ease as they easily maintained a significant lead.


After worming his way in from the right, Madueke flashed the ball dangerously across goal after heading straight at Glover from Fernandez’s cross in the 53rd minute. Eight minutes later, under constant pressure, Gallagher fired wide.


Mykhailo Mudryk and Armando Broja were brought on with little hope of an equalizer, and Glover had to make two tries to stop Mudryk’s attempt in the 73rd minute after Barlaser had fired high and wide from a quick counterattack.


That was, however, as good as it got for Pochettino’s misfiring team, who still have work to do in the decisive leg on home soil.






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