EFL Cup 2023-24 Semi-Finals: Chelsea Fall To Shock Defeat Against Second-Tier Middlesbrough

Chelsea suffered a surprising loss against second-tier Middlesborough in the first leg of the League Cup Semifinal, after the team's co-leading scorer Cole Palmer missed from close range


Chelsea lost 1-0 to second-tier Middlesbrough in the first leg of their League Cup semifinal

Winger Cole Palmer missed from close range and Chelsea lost 1-0 to second-tier Middlesbrough in the first leg of their League Cup semifinal on Tuesday. (More Football News)

Hayden Hackney scored in the 37th minute and Middlesbrough held on at Riverside Stadium against its Premier League opponent.

Mauricio Pochettino's expensively assembled team has been eyeing cup trophies to make up for a disappointing Premier League campaign. They'll have work to do in the second leg at Stamford Bridge on Jan. 23.

“We had too many chances to score where we didn't score. That is football,” Pochettino told Sky Sports. “We have another 90 minutes at Stamford Bridge, and I think we need to be positive.”


Middlesbrough hasn't been this far in the League Cup since winning the competition in 2004.

Hackney scored after sprinting past midfielder Moises Caicedo — a big-money signing last summer — inside the box and poking Isaiah Jones' low cross past goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic into the net.

“It was amazing. Great ball. I just got on the end of it,” the 21-year-old Hackney said. “We said before the game — try to keep it tight and catch them on the counter."

Palmer, who shot wide earlier in the first half, just needed a tap-in to equalize after Middlesbrough goalkeeper Tom Glover misplayed Enzo Fernandez's shot in the fourth minute of first-half stoppage time.


In what should have been a simple catch, the ball instead bounced off Glover's chest directly to Palmer, who tried to volley it in from about 5 yards out. He got under it, however, and his left-footed effort sailed over the crossbar.

The 21-year-old Palmer, who joined Chelsea from Manchester City for around $52 million in the offseason, is Chelsea's co-leading scorer this season with eight goals.

Middlesbrough is 12th in the Championship and lost to Aston Villa 1-0 on Saturday in the FA Cup third round.

“To beat a team of the quality of Chelsea, in any circumstances for us, is unbelievable,” said Middlesbrough manager Michael Carrick, the former Manchester United star. ”The lads were just exceptional. It was an incredible night."

Liverpool hosts Fulham on Wednesday in the other League Cup semifinal first leg.