Antonio Conte has had one route to cup glory unceremoniously closed off this week. The Tottenham supervisor was by no means going to enable one other one to slip by way of his fingers.
Conte stays livid at how his membership’s Europa Convention League marketing campaign ended on Monday – in the forfeiting of the ultimate group section tie towards Rennes after Covid positives ripped by way of the dressing-room – and he needs an answer through the courts.
Spurs bought the job executed in extra standard style right here, responding to Conte’s urgings to safe a frantic derby victory. Roared on by 5,700 travelling followers, West Ham performed a full half in a correct cup tie, Jarrod Bowen – who scored a wonderful equaliser – in nice type and the captain, Declan Rice, a remorseless driving presence.
Neither deserved to be on the shedding crew and West Ham will marvel how they let this tie get away from them. They performed on the entrance foot for lengthy spells, notably in the second half, and had 22 pictures to Spurs’ 14. They’d a number of huge probabilities.
But it’s Tottenham who advance to a Carabao Cup semi-final with Chelsea, pitting Conte towards his former membership, and so they had one in all their forgotten males to thank – the lesser-spotted Steven Bergwijn.
Beginning his first sport beneath Conte and his first for the membership since 27 October, which was the 1-0 win at Burnley in the earlier spherical of this competitors, the winger got here to life in the primary half, scoring the opening goal and laying on what proved to be the winner for Lucas Moura.
Bergwijn has struggled with accidents and largely flattered to deceive after becoming a member of Spurs from PSV Eindhoven in January of final 12 months. He has been touted for one more transfer subsequent month and so his efficiency was well timed – both to persuade Conte to stick with him or to alert potential suitors.
David Moyes had questioned whether or not it is likely to be West Ham’s 12 months in the competitors, his crew having crushed each Manchester golf equipment to arrange this sport, however he can be disabused of the notion, the sense it was not his night time crystalising in stoppage time. The substitute Andriy Yarmolenko reduce inside and noticed his shot deflect, loop up and drop in direction of the far nook, with Hugo Lloris scrambling again. The ball skimmed the crossbar and went behind.
For the nook Alphonse Areola got here up and the ball would attain the goalkeeper however there can be no twist in the story. West Ham have reached solely three cup semi-finals in all competitions since 1991.
The unusual factor about Bergwijn’s night was that it started badly; his contact heavy, his passing awry. He appeared low on confidence and the group chuntered. Every thing modified on 28 minutes when Pierre-Emile Højbjerg accepted a layoff from him and drove up the right-hand aspect of the world. The midfielder may need shot however, as an alternative, he performed a go again inside with disguise for Bergwijn to end from shut vary.
Though Harry Kane labored Areola after a beautiful Lucas through-ball, West Ham had been the brighter crew on the outset, Bowen testing Lloris from a free-kick and seeing one other effort blocked by Davinson Sánchez. His fast ft had been a delight and the collective response to the concession was very good. Twice Tomas Soucek prolonged Lloris with headers whereas Craig Dawson blew a free header from a Bowen nook.
The equaliser got here on the finish of what was a prolonged spell of West Ham stress. Eric Dier, talked up pre-match by Conte as being able to be the most effective in the world in the center of a again three, gave the ball away to Soucek and, when Nikola Vlasic hammered into the world, Bowen managed earlier than shopping for a yard from Dier with an excellent piece of trickery. The end was low and true.
Again got here Spurs, with Bergwijn exploding previous Manuel Lanzini to spark the transfer. With no sort out from both Arthur Masuaku or Issa Diop, Bergwijn crossed and Lucas jabbed residence. Was Sergio Reguilón offside in the eyeline of Areola, who bought down too slowly? There was no VAR though, from a West Ham perspective, it was all too straightforward.
“A few defensive lapses and we’ve given Tottenham straightforward objectives,” mentioned Moyes, who was with out his complete first-choice again 4 – the suspended Vladimir Coufal; and the injured Angelo Ogbonna, Kurt Zouma and Aaron Cresswell – plus Michail Antonio. The important thing striker had examined optimistic for Covid. Antonio is double-vaccinated and symptom-free and, as such, Moyes prompt it may need been a false optimistic. “There’s a good likelihood we might have him again for Boxing Day,” Moyes mentioned.
Bergwijn was denied a second goal by Dawson whereas the superb Oliver Skipp had earlier caught out a leg to thwart Soucek on the far publish. Bowen continued to menace in the second half whereas the substitute, Saïd Benrahma, flickered. Spurs held agency.