Carabao Cup: Middlesbrough 1-0 Chelsea: Hosts earn slender advantage in semi-final first leg

Middlesbrough's Hayden Hackney scores their first goal against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg

Chelsea missed a host of chances as Championship side Middlesbrough earned a slender advantage in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final at a boisterous Riverside Stadium.

Hayden Hackney scored the only goal, opening up his body to slide home an Isaiah Jones cross in the first half.

Cole Palmer missed three presentable opportunities as Chelsea failed to score for the sixth time this season.

The second leg takes place on Tuesday, 23 January at 19:45 GMT.

Liverpool face Fulham in the other semi-final, with the final taking place at Wembley on Sunday, 25 February.

Palmer struggles as injury-ravaged Boro battle

Chelsea's Cole Palmer reacts after missing a chance against Middlesbrough in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg

Both sides came into the game with 12 first-team players unavailable and the situation worsened for Boro boss Michael Carrick when striker Emmanuel Latte Lath and left wing-back Alex Bangura were forced off in the opening 20 minutes.

Latte Lath had capitalised on a poor Levi Colwill header to get in behind the Chelsea defence and was caught on the ankle by Axel Disasi, but the referee waved away penalty appeals and there is no video assistant referee system in operation at this stage of the competition.

Palmer’s first big miss came when experienced captain Jonny Howson gifted him the ball, 30 yards from the Boro goal. He drifted towards goals and looked to place in the corner but dragged wide.

Minutes later, Boro took the lead when Jones got in behind the Chelsea defence and twisted and turned Colwill, who struggled throughout, before his cross was turned in by Hackney, who had drifted off Moises Caicedo.

The goal was met with rapturous noise inside the Riverside, but the game soon returned to the familiar pattern of Chelsea attacks with Palmer turning over the bar after Enzo Fernandez’s effort was spilled by Tom Glover.

Former Manchester City forward Palmer then saw another effort saved as he chopped in from the right, while Caicedo had a long-range effort fizz wide.

Chelsea dominated large periods of the second half too but failed to create any clear-cut opportunities, with a Noni Madueke header, which was comfortably saved, the closest they came.

Their recent investment can be highlighted by the fact that only two of the squad who played in an FA Cup tie against Boro in January 2022 are at the club this season, and while summer signing Palmer has been a shining light so far, this was a difficult night for the 21-year-old.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side had scored in their past six games but must improve in the second leg if the Argentine boss is going to retain a chance of winning his first trophy in England at the end of February.

Among Premier League sides, only Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest (32 each) have lost more games than Chelsea (31) in all competitions since the start of last season, while no team have lost more away from home than the Blues (21) during that period.

Victory for Boro, who have suffered six defeats at home in the Championship this season, gives them hope of reaching the final of the competition they won 20 years ago.

Player of the match

HackneyHayden Hackney

with an average of 8.39


  1. Squad number7Player nameHackney

    Average rating


  2. Squad number11Player nameJones

    Average rating


  3. Squad number16Player nameHowson

    Average rating


  4. Squad number25Player nameCrooks

    Average rating


  5. Squad number27Player nameEngel

    Average rating


  6. Squad number5Player nameClarke

    Average rating


  7. Squad number3Player namevan den Berg

    Average rating


  8. Squad number4Player nameBarlaser

    Average rating


  9. Squad number6Player nameFry

    Average rating


  10. Squad number19Player nameCoburn

    Average rating


  11. Squad number23Player nameGlover

    Average rating


  12. Squad number24Player nameBangura

    Average rating


  13. Squad number9Player nameLatte Lath

    Average rating



  1. Squad number28Player namePetrovic

    Average rating


  2. Squad number6Player nameThiago Silva

    Average rating


  3. Squad number23Player nameGallagher

    Average rating


  4. Squad number42Player nameGilchrist

    Average rating


  5. Squad number27Player nameGusto

    Average rating


  6. Squad number2Player nameDisasi

    Average rating


  7. Squad number11Player nameMadueke

    Average rating


  8. Squad number8Player nameFernández

    Average rating


  9. Squad number26Player nameColwill

    Average rating


  10. Squad number25Player nameCaicedo

    Average rating


  11. Squad number7Player nameSterling

    Average rating


  12. Squad number19Player nameBroja

    Average rating


  13. Squad number10Player nameMudryk

    Average rating


  14. Squad number20Player namePalmer

    Average rating




Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 23Glover
  • 3van den Berg
  • 6Fry
  • 27Engel
  • 11Jones
  • 4Barlaser
  • 16Howson
  • 24BanguraSubstituted forClarkeat 20′minutes
  • 25Crooks
  • 7Hackney
  • 9Latte LathSubstituted forCoburnat 5′minutes


  • 5Clarke
  • 14Gilbert
  • 19Coburn
  • 28O’Brien
  • 32Jones
  • 48Kavanagh
  • 49McCabe
  • 52Bridge
  • 57Bilongo


Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 28Petrovic
  • 27GustoSubstituted forGilchristat 90′minutes
  • 2Disasi
  • 6Thiago Silva
  • 26ColwillBooked at 30mins
  • 25Caicedo
  • 8FernándezSubstituted forBrojaat 63′minutes
  • 11MaduekeSubstituted forMudrykat 63′minutes
  • 23Gallagher
  • 7Sterling
  • 20Palmer


  • 10Mudryk
  • 13Bettinelli
  • 19Broja
  • 36de Souza Eugênio
  • 42Gilchrist
  • 47Bergström
  • 51Williams
  • 68Golding

Samuel Barrott

Match Stats

Live Text

Post update

Match ends, Middlesbrough 1, Chelsea 0.

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