Tottenham Hotspur have been rewarded for taking the Carabao Cup seriously according to boss Jose Mourinho as they beat a resilient Brentford side to earn a shot at a first trophy in 13 years, following a semi-final win over Brentford at White Hart Lane (yes I know that isn't the official name).
Spurs have not won anything since 2008 when they beat Chelsea in the League Cup final and they were made to work hard before seeing off the Championship promotion chasers Brentford in this one-leg semi-final in North London.
Mourinho has won this competition on four occasions and goals from Moussa Sissoko and Son Heung-min saw to it that he now has the chance to make that five, having become the third manager to reach the final with three different teams.
In contrast, Brentford had beaten four Premier League sides on the way to what would be the only the West London sides first Semi Final in their history.
It was the home side who took the lead after just 12 minutes, Moussa Sissoko scored his first goal since December 2019 to break the deadlock with a well-placed header. Sergio Reguilon ran onto a ball down the left flank by Hojbjerg and the Spaniard had far too much time to pick out the run of Sissoko, who had got in between Ethan Pinnock and Mads Sorensen to place a brilliant header beyond Bee's keeper David Raya into the far corner for 1-0.
Brentford did respond well to the early set back and were looking dangerous going forward whilst equally vulnerable at the back. They created a chance to score via Ivan Toney, who wrestled off Davinson Sanchez to meet Bryan Mbeumo's cross but Hugo Lloris was there to comfortably save with 34 minutes gone.
Shortly after that Eric Dier's headed clearance was turned back towards goal by Josh Dasilva, but blocked by Son as the Championship side reminded Tottenham they were well involved in this cup tie.
But having said that, On the stroke of HT Spurs nearly doubled their lead when Son's corner was headed towards his own net by Brentford striker Toney, forcing his own keeper Raya into a wonderful save as he had to backpedal and claw the ball away from what was to be a certain goal.
Controversy followed as the game went into the second half when Brentford's Sergi Canos, on a booking from the 14th minute, was fortunate not to see red when he chopped down Lucas Moura. Then Brentford were denied a leveller within four minutes of the second period. Mbeumo managed to get free from Sanchez and drove into the Spurs box to set up Toney but his close-range shot forced a last-ditch block from Serge Aurier. You don't condone players diving but Mbeumo had a golden chance to hit the deck and win a penalty for his side in the build up. Why he didn't go down is anyone's guess.
Tottenham full back Aurier then showed the attacking side to his game as he ran onto Lucas Moura's pass and managed to escape Mathias Jensen, but his shot cleared the Bee's crossbar. On the hour mark, Vitaly Janelt nearly cost his side a goal through over-playing in defence as Sissoko nipped in and crossed for Son to volley just wide of the goal with a good effort.
What was nearly a memorable moment in Brentford's history and an exciting twist to this game then followed. The main man for the Bee's and their top scorer Ivan Toney scored from close range after Ethan Pinnock's header had initially been saved by Hugo Lloris - but VAR (Peter Bankes) confirmed to referee Mike Dean that the Brentford striker was fractionally beyond Spurs man Sissoko, who was the last defender. It was heartbreak for manager Frank and his players, and it was a bit gutting for the neutral watching too. Had the goal stood it would have been an exciting end to the game.
Instead though not long after that it was game over as on 70 minutes Spurs found the elusive second goal to put the tie to bed. Hojbjerg started the move as he fed Harry Kane, and once the England captain had picked out Tanguy Ndombele, Son was on his way.
The South Korean was too fast for Henrik Dalsgaard and his shot too powerful for Raya, finishing with his 11th goal in his last 16 appearances easing any nerves among Spurs supporters.
Kane ought to have made it three when he ran onto Hojbjerg's clever free-kick, then Son turned provider for Ndombele but his shot from a tight angle hit the post.
The night ended badly for Brentford as Dasilva's poor control led to a nasty looking challenge on Hojbjerg, leaving blood and a nasty cut down the Dane's left shin. Red was the only option and Dean didn't require too many replays from the pitchside monitor to confirm the VAR decision. It has to be said though it was very unfortunate, DaSilva was only trying to do a skill in fairness to him and it didn't look like he meant to hurt his opponent.
Spurs march onto the final and await the winners of Wednesday nights second Semi Final between Manchester United and Manchester City.
Brentford can be very proud of themselves and will now look ahead to gaining promotion from the Championship so they can be involved in fixtures like this regularly.
Both sides also have the FA Cup this weekend.
SPURS 2 BRENTFORD 0
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