Aussie keeper Glover has nightmare night as Chelsea run in six – and he doesn’t make a single save
Just over a year ago, when Aussie keeper Tom Glover was left concussed after a pitch invasion during the Melbourne derby, he might have wondered if he’d have a worse night in football.
A few months later, as his Melbourne City side went down 6-1 to the Central Coast Mariners in the A-League Grand Final, he might have wondered it again.
That was until last night.
While the former Melbourne City man is at least physically unscathed at the end of Middlesborough’s defeat to Chelsea, the keeper’s pride might be as dented as that famous Melbourne bucket.
Glover faced six shots on target at Stamford Bridge – and conceded all six.
Boro had actually led going into the game thanks to a 1-0 win on Teesside in the first leg, but went down 6-1 in London.
It was enough for the Blues to secure their first Wembley appearance under Todd Boehly’s big-spending ownership, putting a little gloss on what has, to date, been a very disappointing season.
A 15th-minute own-goal tied the score on aggregate before Chelsea added more goals in the first half through Enzo Fernandez, Axel Disasi and Cole Palmer.
Goals after the break from Palmer and Noni Madueke piled on the misery for Middlesbrough as Chelsea sealed a 6-2 aggregate victory, setting up a match against either Liverpool or Fulham in the final on February 25. Liverpool will take a 2-1 lead into the second leg in London on Wednesday (Thursday AEDT).
If it is Chelsea-Liverpool, it will be a repeat of the League Cup final in 2022. The teams also met in the FA Cup final that year, with Liverpool winning both matches on penalties.
A Boehly-fronted consortium and Clearlake Capital have owned Chelsea since buying the club off Roman Abramovich in May 2022.
Their spending on players has been unprecedented – more than $US1 billion in the first three full transfer windows – but hit-and-miss, while the regime is onto its third permanent manager in Mauricio Pochettino.
The team is languishing in ninth place in the Premier League, having finished a dismal 12th last season.
It has taken a while but things might finally be falling into place, even if Chelsea still appears far off the top teams in England.
Even after their surprising loss at Riverside Stadium two weeks ago, Chelsea were still favoured to advance to the final and the flurry of early goals – four in the first 42 minutes – virtually ended Middlesbrough’s hopes.
The visiting team coached by former Manchester United and England midfielder Michael Carrick were their own worst enemies at times, like when Jonny Howson diverted the ball into his own net for the opening goal as he tried to tackle Armando Broja in the area.
Fernandez swept in a close-range finish for 2-0 after Broja helped on a cross from Disasi, who then scored himself by converting a cross from Raheem Sterling in the 36th.
Palmer, a revelation since joining from Manchester City in August, stroked in his first goal of the game in the 42nd after dispossessing Boro defender Daniel Barlaser on edge of the visitors’ area.
He made it 5-0 in the 77th before substitute Madueke wrapped up the rout four minutes later.
Morgan Rogers grabbed an 88th-minute consolation for Middlesbrough.
The domestic cups offer the best – likely the only – chance of silverware this season for Chelsea.
Pochettino’s team are still in the FA Cup though facing a tough fourth-round match against Aston Villa on Friday.