WELL the Nation Union of Goalkeepers owed Maurizio Sarri one.
So, while all eyes were on Chelsea’s warring keepers, it was Tottenham’s blundering No 1 Hugo Lloris who gave Sarri’s Stamford Bridge reign a kiss of life.
First, the Spurs skipper was nutmegged and beaten at his near post by Pedro.
Then he was part of an extraordinary mix-up as Kieran Trippier’s disastrous attempt at a back-pass beat him comfortably for an 84th-minute own goal.
It was a comical lack of communication between keeper and full-back which gave Stamford Bridge a much-needed dose of that best medicine of all, hysterical laughter.
As Chelsea revved up their pursuit of Champions League football, it capped a hellish week for Mauricio Pochettino.
The Spurs boss went to Burnley on Saturday in the thick of the title race but now finds himself nervously looking over his shoulder hoping to avoid the lively squabble for places in the to four.
Here were two bitter rivals both looking to make amends after shocking weekends – and while Chelsea reacted determinedly to the challenge, Spurs failed to respond to Pochettino’s pre-match tongue-lashing.
Chelsea had played pretty well in Sunday’s Carabao Cup Final, of course, losing only on penalties to Manchester City.
But Kepa Arrizabalaga’s ‘I shall not be moved’ routine had cast a dirty great shadow over all that, leaving Sarri’s authority tarnished and tattered.
Yet the Italian hit back here by dropping the errant Kepa – finally replacing him with Willy Caballero three days after he’s originally tried to do so.
Chelsea’s goalkeeping mutineer had dimmed the limelight on Tottenham’s own weekend meltdown – when Pochettino and two of his staff went ballistic at Hollywood ref Mike Dean after defeat at Burnley.
That result has surely ended hopes of Spurs winning the league but there was a Cup semi-final defeat to avenge and, a first league Double over Chelsea since 1971 was on the cards.
Save for a decent spell late in the first half, the visitors rarely threatened to carry it out.
For while it was Chelsea’s goalkeeping traumas getting all the pre-match attention, Lloris dropped the first major rick of the night early on.
The Frenchman, who is far more susceptible to errors than these days, inexplicably passed straight to Pedro under little pressure.
The Spaniard squared for Eden Hazard, who cut back for Higuain – but the Argentine screwed his shot well wide with plenty of time to pick his spot.
Higuain had already shot against the inside of the box after just six minutes when Spurs failed to clear a Cesar Azpilicueta up-and-under.
The aggro level had been surprisingly low until Trippier went down after Hazard’s caught him the face, with no apparent intent from the Belgian.
Ref Andre Marriner stopped play for the head injury and when Davinson Sanchez re-started play with a punt towards the Chelsea goal, Kane angered Chelsea players and fans by chasing David Luiz.
Luiz let the England captain know in no uncertain times what he thought of his unsporting behaviour and when Azpilicueta joined in, Kane aimed a dummy headbutt at the Blues skipper – which, though he lacked genuine malice, was foolish at best.
Kane’s every touch was booed after that but he finished the first half with his tail aloft, producing a purposeful run and having a shot deflecting wide.
Then Kane laid off to Harry Winks, who crashed a 25-yard shot against the crossbar.
The second half began with a spell of end-to-end mayhem, Higuain finding the net but having been flagged offside.
Then Azpilicueta, who’d been strongly criticised for a lack of leadership during Sunday’s Wembley stand-off, stepped up and slotted an excellent pass through for Pedro.
The Spanish wideman turned Toby Alderweireld inside out and embarrassed Lloris at his near post, sending Stamford Bridge wild.
Nine days earlier, when Chelsea were bundled out of the FA Cup by Manchester United here, there was open rebellion on the terraces, with Sarri getting dog’s abuse for his substitutions.
He mixed it up here by taking off Hazard, who was blowing heavily, and replacing him with Willian – in an alteration to his usual rigid
Pedro, fresh from scoring, produced an equally eye-catching moment in his own penalty area.
With Christian Eriksen well set, Pedro robbed him with an excellent tackle, then slalomed past two Spurs players and started a counter attack.
Kane squandered a decent chance when Ben Davies flashed over a cross and the Spurs striker could not connect properly, the ball rolling harmlessly wide off his thigh.
Then came the moment that truly re-united the faithful at the Bridge, leaving them rolling in the aisles.
Caballero punted upfield, sub Olivier Giroud headed on but Trippier was hardly supreme pressure from Willian when he failed to look up and, not realised that Lloris was well off his line, slipped it past him into his own net.
It wasn’t quite as gobsmacking as Kepa-gate at Wembley but it was a pretty close-run thing.