Tottenham 0-1 Chelsea (agg 0-3): 5 talking points as Antonio Rudiger bundles Blues into final
Antonio Rudiger secured Chelsea's spot in the Carabao Cup final with a bundled first-half effort as the Blues beat Tottenham 1-0.
Chelsea led Spurs by two goals to nil from the first leg of the semi-final at Stamford Bridge and were three to the good in under 20 minutes in north London.
Tottenham boss Antonio Conte's decision to play Pierluigi Gollini over Hugo Lloris in goal proved decisive when the Italian mistimed punching clear a corner and flapped at the ball.
Rudiger launched himself at the cross and bundled it home off his back to break the deadlock.
Spurs rallied after the goal and were denied two penalties that were initially awarded but overturned following VAR reviews.
Harry Kane also had the ball in the net in the second half but the England international forward was denied his 250th career goal after creeping into an offside position when he received the pass.
Here are five talking points from the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg.
Hudson-Odoi has found his new home
He might see himself as a forward, and given the choice would like to play up top alongside the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Mason Mount and Timo Werner for Chelsea.
But while those three, as well as Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech remain at the club, Callum Hudson-Odoi is going to find regular first-team football very hard to come by.
Ben Chilwell's injury has been a huge blow for the Blues, with a ruptured ACL ruling the Englishman out for the season.
But it has provided Hudson-Odoi with a golden opportunity, and so far he is taking it.
Against Spurs on Wednesday, Hudson-Odoi took up a left wing-back position and it's fair to say he barely put a foot wrong.
Going forward he offered Werner an option on the overlap and found himself in the Spurs box on more than one occasion, while going the other way he was perhaps even more impressive.
Emerson Royal just couldn't get the better of Hudson-Odoi, and if the 21-year-old continues to put in consistent performances like this one he'll be where he wants to be, in the Chelsea XI, albeit not exactly where he wants to be within it.
Kane denied a landmark career goal
It was another frustrating night for a man enduring a frustrating season at Tottenham.
Kane is currently on 249 club goals for Spurs and had his eye on a landmark 250 against Chelsea, but it wasn't to be, despite him hitting the back of the net.
Kane came close for Tottenham in the first half when he nearly latched onto an effort at the back post.
Aside from that, he was largely quiet but did come up trumps late on in the clash, where he thought he'd brought the scores level.
But his delight was short-lived as a VAR review saw his effort - and Tottenham's hopes of an unlikely comeback - ruled out.
Conte gets it wrong with Gollini
The Spurs boss raised a few eyebrows when he picked Gollini over Lloris in goal for the second leg, considering the Frenchman played the reverse fixture.
Conte was unclear on why he made the change in his pre-match interview where he vaguely suggested the World Cup winner was in need of a rest.
But his decision to rest the Tottenham captain in a semi-final they had to win against one of their biggest rivals was ill-advised.
Gollini looked out of his depth when Chelsea's Charge of the Light Brigade came at him, and he failed to command his box aerially, which cost Tottenham dearly.
The Italian mistimed his jump when a corner came in on the quarter-hour mark and after failing to get either hand on the ball watched as it bounced off Rudiger and into his net.
The goal put Chelsea three ahead on aggregate and rather took the sting out of Spurs' comeback hopes.
Rudiger shows Chelsea what they'd be missing
German centre-back Rudiger has been linked with a move away from Chelsea at the end of the season.
The defender is out of contract in June and recently turned down the offer on an extension worth £140,000 per week.
The usual suspects Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich are all keen on snapping up the centre-back on a free.
But it's Chelsea who must make stumping up the extra cash and tying Rudiger down to a new contract the priority - he showed them why on Wednesday.
Barring a contentious moment when he brought down Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg on the edge of the area - very nearly conceding a penalty - he was his usual reliable self at the back for the Blues.
And he marked his performance with an important goal in the first half, putting Chelsea 3-0 ahead on aggregate in just the 18th minute and settling those semi-final nerves.
He nearly scored an identical goal early on in the second half after bulling the Spurs box and latching onto a corner, but his effort, which again came off his shoulder, went high and wide.
VAR is on the mark
It gets a lot of criticism but VAR was on the mark on Wednesday night, even if Spurs fans will feel the Gods were against them.
It was initially called into play in the first half when Rudiger brought down Hojbjerg on the very edge of the area.
The Tottenham midfielder's motion carried him forward into the Chelsea box, where his legs crossed, and he crashed to the ground.
Andre Marriner immediately pointed to the penalty spot, but a VAR review showed the contact was made outside the box and the decision was correctly overturned.
VAR was again used in the second half when Kepa Arrizabalaga brought down Lucas Moura in the Chelsea area, preventing a goal-scoring opportunity.
Marriner again pointed to the spot, but another VAR review showed the Spanish keeper had dispossessed the Brazilian skilfully and the original decision was overturned.
VAR was finally called into play when Kane fired Spurs level, highlighting that the Englishman was offside when he received the ball.