LONDON- - Chelsea seized control of their league cup semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur, beating their London rivals 2-0 in the first leg on Wednesday thanks to an early strike by Kai Havertz and an own goal by Spurs defender Ben Davies.
The Blues, who had enough chances to put the tie beyond doubt, swamped the visitors from the start as they sought to book their place in their third final under coach Thomas Tuchel who has yet to mark his first anniversary at Stamford Bridge.
After a mix-up in the Spurs defence in the fifth minute, Havertz fired an angled shot that was goal-bound before it went in off the foot of Davinson Sanchez.
Half an hour later, the dominant hosts got their second goal, albeit with a slice of luck, when Japhet Tanganga headed away a Hakim Ziyech free kick, only for the ball to rebound into the Spurs net off Davies' shoulder.
The win, while not as thumping as it could have been, dented the hopes of Spurs, under former Chelsea coach Antonio Conte, of winning a first trophy since lifting the league cup in 2008. In that time, Chelsea have won 12 major trophies including three Premier League and two Champions League titles.
Tuchel restored record signing Romelu Lukaku to the team having dropped him for Sunday's 2-2 draw with Liverpool as punishment for the Belgian saying in an interview that he was unhappy with his role at Stamford Bridge.
Lukaku went close with a first-half header, created a great chance for Ziyech after the break which the Moroccan wasted and hit an injury-time shot straight at Hugo Lloris.
Chelsea also welcomed back Timo Werner after a period out with COVID-19. On as a substitute for Havertz at halftime, the German striker flashed a shot just wide and then failed to chip Lloris when clean through.
Spurs created a few chances in the second half but the only one that really troubled Chelsea came as late as the 90th minute when Bryan Gil, out wide, cut the ball back to fellow substitute Giovani Lo Celso whose shot was saved by Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Ziyech said he hoped Chelsea would not rue their missed chances to put the tie beyond the reach of Spurs.
"We forgot to finish the game, a lot of chances. Hopefully we get the job done there," the Moroccan told Sky Sports.
The second leg of the semi-final at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is due to take place on Jan. 12 and the winners will face either Arsenal or Liverpool.