Chelsea suffered a shocking 1-0 defeat to Middlesbrough in the first leg of their League Cup semifinal on Tuesday, held at Riverside Stadium. The loss comes as a significant setback for Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea, a team that has been focusing on cup competitions amidst a challenging Premier League season.
The only goal of the match was scored in the 37th minute by Hayden Hackney, who capitalized on a well-timed sprint and a precise cross from Isaiah Jones. Hackney’s skillful maneuver past Moises Caicedo and his subsequent shot saw the ball sailing past Chelsea’s goalkeeper Dorde Petrovic into the net, giving Middlesbrough a crucial lead. Follow your favourite Premier League team with attractive football betting odds from Nextbet.
Chelsea’s woes were compounded by Cole Palmer’s missed opportunity in the first half. In what appeared to be a golden chance to equalize, Palmer failed to capitalize on a goalkeeping error by Middlesbrough’s Tom Glover. Glover, who misplayed a shot in the dying minutes of the first half, inadvertently set up Palmer for what should have been a simple tap-in. However, Palmer’s attempt to volley from close range went awry, sailing over the crossbar.
The significance of Middlesbrough’s victory cannot be overstated, as the team currently sits 12th in the Championship. Their progress to this stage of the League Cup marks their most successful run in the competition since their victory in 2004. This win, especially after their recent 1-0 loss to Aston Villa in the FA Cup third round, will surely boost the team’s confidence.
For Chelsea, this result adds to the pressures facing Pochettino’s squad. While the team has been eyeing cup trophies to compensate for their Premier League struggles, they now face an uphill battle in the second leg, which is scheduled for January 23 at Stamford Bridge.
This unexpected outcome sets the stage for a compelling second leg, where Chelsea will be desperate to overturn the deficit and keep their cup ambitions alive. Meanwhile, Middlesbrough will aim to capitalize on their current advantage and seek a historic spot in the League Cup final. Get the latest updates from the Premier League only on Nextbet Sports.