Dimitar Berbatov had equalized in the second half after Didier Drogba's 39t-minute goal.
The victory gave the north London side their first trophy in nine years. By common consent, Tottenham Hotspur needed to start strongly - and score early - if they were to have any joy against Chelsea in Sunday's (24/2) English League Cup final. They came close - through the likes of Dimitar Berbatov and Steed Malbranque.
But when Didier Drogba fired Chelsea ahead in the 39th minute with his tenth goal of the season, fans of the north London club must have feared the worst.
Without shining, Chelsea quietly took a grip on the game.
But Avram Grant's men - and Wayne Bridge in particular - 'handed' Spurs a lifeline, midway through the second half.
Dimitar Berbatov coolly slotted the ball past Petr Cech for his 17th goal of the season.
And suddenly, Juande Ramos' side were back in the match.
Didier Zokora spurned a golden opportunity to win the game - but failed when confronted by Cech. Berbatov too, was denied.
But in extra time, Jonathan Woodgate proved the unlikely match-winner.
The central defender's first goal for the club - and his first in English football for more than five years - secured a 2-1 win for Spurs.
Skipper Ledley King had the honour of lifting Spurs' first trophy in nine years.