FA Cup quarter-finals: Chelsea 4 – 2 Leicester City

Chelsea scored twice in stoppage time to survive a major scare against Leicester City and reach the FA Cup semi-finals.

Substitutes Carney Chukwuemeka and Noni Madueke snatched victory for the Blues at the end of a dramatic second half in which the home fans threatened to turn on manager Mauricio Pochettino.

The hosts led comfortably at 2-0 until Axel Disasi scored a comedy own goal from 35 yards out to breathe life into the tie in the 51st minute.

Stephy Mavididi curled in a superb equaliser 11 minutes later after which a fractious Stamford Bridge voiced its unrest with loud boos and chants of “you don’t know what you’re doing”.

But a red card with 17 minutes to go for Leicester defender Callum Doyle proved crucial.

He fouled Nicolas Jackson and, having been initially been shown a yellow card and a penalty given, the video assistant referee ruled the foul was outside of the box but upgraded his yellow to red.

Chelsea applied constant pressure from there and Chukwuemeka slotted in after a clever flick from Cole Palmer, who scored along with Marc Cucurella for Chelsea in the first half, in the 92nd minute.

Madueke’s long-range strike sealed the win which maintains Chelsea’s hopes of ending a difficult season on a high by winning the FA Cup for the first time since 2018.

Leicester’s attention turns back to the Championship where the Foxes have been knocked off the top of the table by Leeds’ win against Millwall on Sunday.

Another remarkable cup tie
This second half was every bit as dramatic as Coventry’s late win against Wolves on Saturday.

Despite also missing a penalty through Raheem Sterling in the first half, Chelsea looked to be cruising through to the last four until Disasi’s moment of madness.

After receiving a throw-in under gentle pressure on halfway, he attempted to play the ball back to Robert Sanchez stood on the edge of the box but managed to lift the ball over his goalkeeper’s head.

From there a rattled Chelsea repeatedly gave the ball away and the Leicester fans were loud. Patson Daka had come close to getting on the end of a cross from Abdul Fatawu before Mavididi’s equaliser.

Next came the red card which came when a brilliant turn from Jackson sent him through on goal. From the subsequent free-kick, positioned inches outside the box, Sterling blasted well over and loud boos rained down from the stands.

Sterling also missed a one-on-one in the first half and when Pochettino took off Mykhailo Mudryk moments later, the atmosphere verged on mutinous.

There were ironic cheers, some boos and some applause when Sterling was eventually taken off.

To Pochettino’s credit, it was the two substitutes who won the game. Chukwuemeka was cool where his team-mates had earlier failed before Madueke danced through challenges and curled in.

With Chelsea 11th in the Premier League and having already suffered a disappointing defeat by Liverpool in the Carabao Cup final, Pochettino could not afford a loss against lower-league opposition. His side just about avoided it.

Leicester impress in defeat
Leicester will rue the red card for they looked the more likely winner at 2-2.

Doyle clipped Jackson from behind as he closed in on goal. As the foul was deemed outside the box, the 20-year-old Manchester City loanee no longer had the double jeopardy law of penalty and a red card to avoid being dismissed.

Still, Leicester showed why they have looked so strong for much of this season. They built play well and had chances of their own with Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall excellent in midfield.

They have only won one of their past five in the league during which a 12-point lead at the top of the table has evaporated with Leeds now ahead on goal difference.

On this evidence, however, Enzo Maresca’s side should still have enough to return to the top flight at the first attempt.


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