Tottenham 2-0 Brentford: Sissoko and Son fire Mourinho's men to Wembley

By Sports Desk January 05, 2021

Tottenham booked a place in the EFL Cup final as Moussa Sissoko and Son Heung-min got the goals in a 2-0 victory over Brentford.

Thomas Frank's Championship promotion-chasers headed into the match bolstered by a 16-match unbeaten run and victories over four other Premier League sides in this season's competition, but Sissoko's 12th-minute header punctured any early enthusiasm.

The visitors posed enough questions of Spurs in their usual eloquent style and Ivan Toney had a 63rd-minute header disallowed for offside.

Son then streaked clear of their defence to hammer home his 16th goal of the season and grant Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho his latest shot at silverware.

Brentford finshed with 10 men after Josh Dasilva's ugly lunge caught Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.

They had given themselves an uphill task by allowing Sissoko far too much room to glance home Sergio Reguilon's left-wing cross in a first half of few chances.

Toney outmuscled Davinson Sanchez to get on the end of Bryan Mbeumo's floated 34th-minute delivery, although Hugo Lloris was equal to a looping header.

The Brentford striker arguably caused his own goalkeeper more discomfort when Lucas Moura's header from Son's corner spun off Toney, with David Raya saving superbly as he tumbled backwards to his left.

Serge Aurier made a vital last-ditch challenge to thwart Toney after Mbeumo got the better of Sanchez five minutes into the second half.

Aurier and Son spurned presentable chances and Toney thought he had equalised for Brentford, only for a VAR review to show he was fractionally offside.

That close shave roused Spurs from their second-half torpor and Harry Kane combined with Tanguy Ndombele for the latter to slide Son through for an emphatic finish.

A spirited Brentford were sapped by that strike and needed another impressive intervention from Raya to prevent Kane from adding further gloss to the scoreline.

Dasilva was deservedly dismissed six minutes from time after leaving Hojbjerg with an ugly gash on his shin.

What does it mean? Mourinho's League Cup love affair continues

Mourinho has lifted the three-handled trophy on four occasions and it was his first honour in English football with Chelsea back in 2005. It was also the last major prize Spurs were able to collect, back in 2008. Victory over either of the other semi-final combatants - his former club Manchester United or Pep Guardiola and holders Manchester City - would surely by richly enjoyed by Mourinho if he and his players can complete the job at Wembley in April.

What's next?

Both sides turn their attention towards the FA Cup this weekend, with Brentford hosting Championship counterparts Middlesbrough and Spurs travelling to non-league Marine in the most intriguing tie of the third round.

Related items

  • Ballon d'Or: Ancelotti congratulates Messi and tips Benzema for future success Ballon d'Or: Ancelotti congratulates Messi and tips Benzema for future success

    Karim Benzema will be extra motivated to win the 2022 Ballon d'Or after finishing fourth in this year's voting, according to Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti.

    The 33-year-old has scored 34 goals for Madrid this calendar year and was recalled to the France squad in May after a six-year exile.

    Benzema's combined 46 goals and assists in 2021 has been bettered only by Erling Haaland (48), Kylian Mbappe (51) and Robert Lewandowski (59) from Europe's top five leagues when taking all club competitions into account.

    The Madrid striker finished behind Euro 2020 winner Jorginho, Lewandowski and record seven-time winner Lionel Messi at Monday's Ballon d'Or ceremony, with N'Golo Kante completing the top five.

    Benzema's Madrid team-mate Toni Kroos has argued the Frenchman did more than Paris Saint-Germain star Messi this year to win the award.

    But Ancelotti accepts the decision, determined by journalists from across the world, and insists Benzema will not be fazed by finishing outside the top three.

    "We have to give fair value to the classification," he said at a news conference previewing Wednesday's LaLiga contest with Athletic Bilbao.

    "Messi has won and we must congratulate him. The individual awards are important but if they do not win it is not a catastrophe. I hope next year a Madrid player will win it.

    "Benzema has had a great season and finished fourth. He will continue to be motivated to try to be first next time.

    "If I had a vote, I would not choose any player outside of my own team. I'd have voted Benzema first, Vinicius [Junior] second, [Thibaut] Courtois third, Casemiro fourth.

    "But you have to respect and congratulate Messi on winning."

    Madrid-linked forward Kylian Mbappe finished ninth, but Ancelotti does not believe leaving Paris Saint-Germain will necessarily enhance his chances of winning the coveted crown.

    "Playing for a great club can help you, but it is still an individual prize," Ancelotti said when asked specifically about Mbappe.

    "These players will not cry because they have not won the award. The likes of Benzema and Courtois will accept it without a problem."

    Benzema and Vinicius are in contention to start Wednesday's clash with Athletic as Madrid aim to make it five league wins in a row and maintain a four-point lead at the top.

    Madrid are unbeaten in their last 12 LaLiga games against Athletic (W8 D4), one short of their best unbeaten run against the Basque club in the top flight.

    Ancelotti, who has lost only one of his four LaLiga games against Athletic, is prepared to make changes to Madrid's line-up three days on from their 2-1 win against Sevilla.

    "It's an evaluation I make every day," he said. "The dynamics of the team right now are very good. I won't rotate for the sake of it, but if we have any risks then of course we will do it.

    "We are facing a well organised team at the back. Marcelino trains all his teams very well, especially in a defensive sense.

    "This game will demand a lot from us and we need some offensive clarity. They are also a team that attacks vertically, so we must show good balance."

    Despite having to contend with injury problems and a congested schedule, Ancelotti reiterated Madrid are not likely to bring in any new players in January.

    "You have the summer to improve the squad," he said. "I don't like using January to adjust as that means something must have gone wrong in the summer.

    "If players are not happy then we'll think about it, but we are not looking to sign. The squad is fine and will compete until the end."

  • Klopp backs Van Dijk as Liverpool defensive leader returns to scene of Goodison agony Klopp backs Van Dijk as Liverpool defensive leader returns to scene of Goodison agony

    Jurgen Klopp backed Virgil van Dijk to power through his return to Goodison Park with Liverpool but believes the Dutchman will have his emotions stirred.

    Last season's Merseyside derby at Everton saw Van Dijk clattered early on by Jordan Pickford and hobble out of the game, suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury that ended his season in October.

    The Dutch defender was sorely missed as Liverpool's Premier League title defence collapsed amid a drastic set of injuries that left Klopp struggling to piece together a backline at times.

    Now he has Van Dijk back and close to as good as ever, with Liverpool in great shape as they prepare to face Everton, who are under the instruction of former Reds boss Rafael Benitez.

    When asked about Van Dijk ahead of Wednesday's tussle with their struggling neighbours, Klopp suggested it would be naive to expect no reaction.

    "We're all human beings, so it's probably difficult to ignore something like that," Klopp said.

    "It was a situation that should not happen in football and doesn't happen very often. I can't remember one since then in any other game.

    "Virgil is very experienced, and he has these situations constantly since he's been back where he's in challenges and has to be completely free of all things he could have in his mind because of one issue in his past.

    "So slightly more different [against Everton] because it's in the same place, but apart from that it's just a football game again."

    Van Dijk has been an ever-present for Liverpool in their 13 Premier League games so far this season, and in that time he has been dribbled past only once by an opponent. No defender with 10 or more appearances has bettered that, and Klopp has been reassured by his increasingly imposing form.

    "He came back brilliant. People are really quick if something's not exactly like it was before to say 'he's not the same anymore' and stuff like this, and this is of course not right," Klopp said. "These kind of judgements make absolutely no sense because everybody needs time to get back.

    "He had a full pre-season which is absolutely helpful. His comeback was absolutely brilliant since he came back, it's been really good.

    "If some things are not exactly as they have been, it's only a matter of time because of his quality, there's no doubt about that."

    The Liverpool manager said his team would need "a cool head" for the likely raucous atmosphere awaiting them.

    "We are still an emotional team, but you have to use the emotion in the right way and that's the plan for tomorrow absolutely," Klopp said.

    Everton won 2-0 at Anfield in their last Premier League game against Liverpool, ending a 20-game winless run against them in the competition. Wednesday's hosts have not won back-to-back league Merseyside derbies since beating Liverpool in both meetings in the 1984-85 campaign, with Everton then on their way to winning the First Division title.

    Eight of the last nine Premier League derbies at Everton have finished level, including each of the last four in a row.

    Liverpool can break a long-standing record on Wednesday, which is one of numerous incentives. Klopp's team have scored at least twice in each of their last 17 games in all competitions, the joint-longest such run in history by an English top-flight side, level with Sunderland in 1927.

    Benitez will be out to prevent that happening, but his Everton side are in free-fall having lost five of their last six games.

    Former Liverpool managers have lost 13 of their last 14 Premier League games against the Reds, with Brendan Rodgers' Leicester City the exception, winning 3-1 in February, with Van Dijk by then on the injured list.

    Klopp does not entertain the theory that form goes out of the window for a derby.

    "I think previous form matters," he said. "Especially when it's good."

  • Carrick to lead Man Utd against Arsenal as Rangnick waits on work visa Carrick to lead Man Utd against Arsenal as Rangnick waits on work visa

    Manchester United will again be led by caretaker boss Michael Carrick in Thursday's game against Arsenal as the club wait for Ralf Rangnick to receive a work visa.

    It means Carrick will be in charge for a third successive game, having already led the team to a 2-0 win at Villarreal in the Champions League and a 1-1 draw away to Premier League leaders Chelsea.

    United's hopes of upgrading from caretaker Carrick to interim boss Rangnick in time for the Old Trafford clash with the Gunners have been hit by red tape.

    As the team went through their preparations for the game at the Carrington training base, Carrick told United's players he would be giving out the orders once more.

    In a statement on their official website, United said: "Ralf Rangnick was announced as interim manager on Monday but, while the club follows the regulatory process around a work visa, Carrick will continue at the helm.

    "Michael has communicated this to players and staff at Carrington in a busy week for the club."

    United announced on Monday an agreement had been reached with Rangnick over a relationship that is set to span two and a half years.

    Initially, Rangnick will take charge until the end of the season before moving into a consultancy role.

    Rangnick has previously shaped German clubs such as Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig from top to bottom, with his future advisory position at Old Trafford suggesting United are planning an overhaul of their football operations, which have long appeared outdated compared to their rivals.

    He has been working most recently at Lokomotiv Moscow, but the 63-year-old is now set to step into the highest-profile position of his career.

    Carrick has been at the helm since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's dismissal on November 21, which followed a dismal run of form that saw United lose five of seven Premier League games.

    They sit eighth in the table, five points behind fifth-placed Arsenal, having won just five of 13 domestic league games this season and with a goal difference of minus one.

    United are at home again on Sunday when they host Crystal Palace, seemingly a more realistic target for Rangnick's first game.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.