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Chelsea Win League Cup Final

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LONDON – Jose Mourinho claimed his first trophy since returning for his second spell as Chelsea manager with a comfortable Capital One Cup final victory over Tottenham at Wembley.

John Terry and Diego Costa did the damage – both with the aid of deflections – either side of the interval as Spurs’ hopes of repeating their success over Chelsea in this competition seven years ago never got off the ground.

The win gave Mourinho his first silverware since La Liga success with Real Madrid in 2012 and Chelsea their first since the Europa League final victory against Benfica in Amsterdam a year later.

Despite a career laden with trophies, Mourinho claimed this was the most important final of his time in the game and Chelsea were never seriously troubled once Christian Eriksen’s early free-kick rebounded to safety off the woodwork.

Mourinho’s mastery of the big selection decision was also demonstrated once more by his deployment of Kurt Zouma, a central defender by trade, in midfield to fulfil the role left behind by the suspended Nemanja Matic to outstanding effect.

Spurs, for all their endeavour, never looked close to repeating that convincing victory over Chelsea on New Year’s Day, when Mourinho’s side were beaten 5-3 at White Hart Lane.

And with Chelsea’s closest Premier League title rivals Manchester City losing 2-1 at Liverpool even before this final kicked off – leaving his side with a five-point advantage with a game in hand – this just about added up to Mourinho’s perfect day.

Tottenham had the exertions of a Europa League tie – and painful exit – against Fiorentina in Italy on Thursday, and while this may have taken its toll, they never looked like rescuing the situation once Chelsea took the lead right on half-time.

Tottenham’s usual suspects created early optimism for their fans as Eriksen bounced a 20-yard free-kick off the bar, although Petr Cech – preferred in goal to Thibaut Courtois – looked to have the situation under control, and Harry Kane ended a fine run with a low shot that was comfortably saved by Chelsea’s keeper.

As usual, Costa was keeping Spurs fully occupied in the physical exchanges, angering Nabil Bentaleb with a hand-off, squaring up to Kyle Walker and getting involved in a running battle with Eric Dier that ended with the defender picking up a yellow card for a foul.

As the first 45 minutes looked to be drawing to a subdued conclusion, Chelsea pounced on a moment of defensive confusion to take the lead.

Willian’s free-kick was deflected out of a cluster of bodies to the feet of Terry, whose shot took a crucial touch off Kane to defeat Hugo Lloris, who was given the nod by Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino ahead of regular League Cup choice Michel Vorm.

And it was another deflection that was a key element as Chelsea doubled their lead 11 minutes after the break. Cesc Fabregas, who had seen an ambitious overhead kick well saved by Lloris, found Costa, whose shot was directed across the face of goal until it took a deflection off Walker to beat Lloris inside his near post.

This was effectively the end of the contest, with barely a blow traded between the sides before Chelsea captain Terry lifted the trophy. – BBC Sport

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