Chelsea suffered 1-0 defeat at Riverside in Carabao cup semi-final against Middlesbrough

 Michael Carrick's injury-ridden Middlesbrough orchestrated a masterclass in counter-attacking football during the first leg of the EFL Cup semi-final, securing a 1-0 victory over Chelsea at the vibrant Riverside Stadium.

Facing a staggering absence of 12 first-team players, Boro suffered further blows in the first half with Emmanuel Latte Lath succumbing to a robust challenge and Alex Bangura pulling up with a hamstring strain. Despite Chelsea's early dominance, it was Middlesbrough who broke the deadlock in the 37th minute with a beautifully crafted goal on the counter. A diagonal ball from Daniel Barlaser found Isaiah Jones, who skillfully maneuvered past Levi Colwill and set up Hayden Hackney for a clinical finish.

While Mauricio Pochettino's side showed increased urgency in the second half, the Chelsea attack struggled to break down Middlesbrough's resilient defense. Raheem Sterling and Mykhailo Mudryk's attempts were thwarted by Boro's goalkeeper, Tom Glover.

Despite Chelsea's history of triumphs over Boro, the spirited home side, buoyed by their recent success, managed to hold their ground, taking a deserved yet slender 1-0 lead to Stamford Bridge for the second leg. Cole Palmer's missed opportunities haunted Chelsea, leaving them with a challenging task ahead as they seek to overturn the deficit and secure a spot in the EFL Cup final.

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