Chelsea drop first leg of League Cup semifinal away to Middlesbrough

Chelsea have lots of work still to do in the League Cup semifinals, after suffering a 1-0 defeat away to EFL Championship side Middlesbrough on Tuesday.

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With Chelsea sitting 10th in the Premier League table just past the halfway point of the season, the League Cup is the quickest and surest route to silverware (and, with it, a bit of good grace) in season no. 1. Despite the defeat in the first leg, Chelsea are still likeliest to go through to the final, where they would face either Liverpool or Fulham at Wembley Stadium on Feb. 25.

The Blues could have been a goal or two ahead by halftime, as they out-shot Boro 11-4 in the opening 45 minutes, but it was the home side that took their best scoring chance when it came, in the 37th minute. Isaiah Jones got in behind Levi Colwill and played a simple cross into the six-yard box, where Hayden Hackney made the late-arriving run from midfield and poked the ball past Djordje Petrovic for the opening, and only, goal of the game.

Chelsea will try to overturn their deficit in the second leg back at Stamford Bridge, on Jan. 23.

Middlesbrough vs Chelsea, final score: 1-0

Goalscorers: Hayden Hackney (37')

How to watch Middlesbrough vs Chelsea, League Cup semifinal live, stream link, time

Kickoff: 3 pm ET, Tuesday (Jan. 9)
Online: ESPN+

Middlesbrough starting lineup

Glover — Van den Berg, Fry, Engel, Bangura — Barlaser, Hackney — Jones, Howson, Crooks, Lath

Chelsea starting lineup

Petrovic — Gusto, Disasi, Silva, Colwill — Caicedo, Fernandez, Gallagher — Palmer, Madueke, Sterling

Focus on Chelsea, injury news

Injuries continue to cause Pochettino problems as he can't get any consistency and rhythm in his lineup. Djordje Petrovic has taken his chance in goal as the Blues have improved defensively, while Cole Palmer and Raheem Sterling contnue to create chances and are Chelsea's most consistent players in attack.

OUT: Nicolas Jackson (international duty), Romeo Lavia (undisclosed), Wesley Fofana (torn ACL), Carney Chukwuemeka (knee), Trevoh Chalobah (thigh), Reece James (thigh), Robert Sanchez (knee), Marc Cucurella (ankle)| QUESTIONABLE: Christopher Nkunku (hip), Benoit Badiashile (undisclosed), Ben Chilwell (thigh)