Tottenham Hotspur booked their place in the Carabao Cup final after beating Brentford 2-0 in the semi-final.
Manchester City or Manchester United stand in the way of Spurs’ 13-year trophy drought at Wembley on 13 April.
Moussa Sissoko opened the scoring with a clever guided header, but Thomas Frank’s side kept themselves in the game.
Ivan Toney thought he levelled the tie in the second half, but VAR ruled him marginally offside.
Spurs then turned the screw, as Son-Heung Min confirmed their place after latching onto a Tanguy Ndombele through ball and finishing past David Raya.
Jose Mourinho and his team rejoiced – as much as they could with no fans – with their first domestic final in six years.
Story of the match
Spurs set the tone for the evening with their team news.
Five changes were made from the 3-0 destruction of Leeds United – Serge Aurier for Matt Doherty was enforced but Davinson Sanchez, Sergio Regulion, Sissoko and Lucas Moura all came in for Toby Alderweireld, Ben Davies, Harry Winks, and Steven Bergwijn.
However, with Harry Kane and Son-Heung Min, it represented a very strong team for Spurs and outlined their intentions in this competition. It also showed Mourinho’s respect for Brentford, and he even said before the match:
“I analyse them as a Premier League team because of their qualities.”
Frank, more understandably, named the strongest team he could for Brentford’s first-ever League Cup semi-final.
The only change from their 2-1 win against Bournemouth was captain Pontus Janssen making way for Mads Bech in the centre of defence.
In the first ten minutes, Brentford certainly didn’t get stage fright: poking the ball around, holding possession, and asking questions of Tottenham’s shape with all the swagger of a Premier League side.
Sadly for the neutrals, Spurs responded. The ball found its way over to Reguilon and he curled in a delight.
The 6ft1 giant in Sissoko had somehow crept into the box undetected, and he guided his header into the top-right corner and give Spurs the 1-0 lead within 15 minutes.
Brentford now had an all-mighty task on their hands: break down Spurs when they’ve scored the first goal.
The next 15 minutes was a lot of, well, nothing. Brentford held the ball, but that is more of a design for Spurs.
For all their territorial gain, the next good chance of the game fell to Tottenham. Son's dangerous corner was met by an equally dangerous leap and header from Lucas, albeit helped on its way by Toney.
As the ball looked destined for the exact same destination as Sissoko’s header, Raya stretched, jumped, and came to Brentford’s rescue to keep the game in touching distance.
Within the blink of an eye, the half-time whistle was blown accompanied by radio music blaring out of the stadium’s state of the start speakers.
Spurs were generally uninspiring in front of goal, with Kane and Son weirdly quiet.
But they did look extremely secure in their defensive system having only conceded one shot on target which was a Toney header that wasn't Hugo Lloris.
Something had to give in the second half for this result to change.
Brentford had their best opportunity in the 47th minute. In transition, gaps appeared throughout Tottenham’s defence and Bryan Mbueno skipped past Sanchez with far too much ease.
He found the lurking Toney in the box, but Serge Aurier produced an excellent block: another pointer towards his defensive resurgence this season.
As the 1-0 score started to become thinner and thinner, Spurs did start to actively look for a second.
They almost got one when Sissoko chipped a ball in and found Son who volleyed just wide off the post.
In the 62nd minute, Brentford got their first cruel taste of VAR.
Mbueno’s searching corner was headed back across the face of the goal and tapped in by Toney, but VAR got it’s blurry lines and different colours out to show that Toney’s knee, on the floor from just missing an attempt, was just past Sissoko’s body.
A grand let-off for Spurs, and dismay for Brentford.
This poked the bear. Kane found Ndombele within the lines, and Son was off like a whippet. The French midfielder, with all of his usual grace, poked the ball through to the Korean in gorgeous fashion.
Son latched onto it. Three touches, roof of the net, and with that – Spurs booked their place in the Carabao Cup final.
As the affair petered out, the game had a surprising series of drama. Unseen by the referee at first, but Josh Da Silva – clearly frustrated – produced an incredibly late challenge on the again excellent Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.
Mike Dean barely needed 15 seconds on the monitor to show the red card to the midfielder. It left a horrible scar on Hojbjerg’s shin.
It was a funny but telling picture of Mourinho having to force the midfielder off with half of his shin missing. Oh yeah, and with five minutes to go.
The full-time whistle blew, and Spurs booked their first domestic final since 2015. They needed luck, but not many can argue with the result. Spurs were at their rigid and ruthless best.
Man City or Man United await.
90 minutes away
Tottenham are ninety minutes away from ending their torrid 13-year trophy drought.
Mauricio Pochettino, somehow, didn’t end it. But this is exactly why Mourinho was brought in – to grab the club some much-needed silverware.
Man City or Man United will be the ones in the way, but Spurs will take confidence in the fact that they have beaten both, in convincing ways, so far this season.
The final being pushed back to April means the state of both teams could be completely different, but the facts remain the same – this is a great opportunity for Mourinho and Spurs to grab their hands on a much-needed trophy.
Brentford can stand proud
Brentford are on a mission to get promoted and this was a big opportunity to test themselves against a big side.
It’s safe to say, certainly in my opinion: they passed.
They held the ball well, albeit not carving out too many chances, but their slick football was on show at times.
For sure, Frank’s side can count themselves unlucky they didn’t go level through Toney after VAR reared his ugly head.
On another day – 1-1 with 30 minutes to go – it could’ve been a completely different story.
Man of the match – Moussa Sissoko
It was a great performance from the midfielder. He opened the scoring with a brilliant header after creeping into the box.
He was a bundle of energy all night, shuffling around and shutting down Brentford when they tried to create any sort of rhythm.
Sissoko remains an underrated figure at Spurs, but he’s clearly loved within the dressing room.
At the end of the game, they all rejoiced at the big screens when it announced he was the official man of the match award.