Everton 2 - 0 Chelsea
Lukaku's stunning first goal broke the deadlock and set the Blues in their way to a date at Wembley
Everton booked a place in their second semi-final of the season and their first in the FA Cup since 2012 as they beat Chelsea on the back of a superb brace by Romelu Lukaku.
Amid a raucous atmosphere at Goodison Park and with Farhad Moshiri watching from the Directors’ Box, the Toffees had gone toe-to-toe with the reigning Premier League Champions in a tightly and feistily contested affair that featured plenty of effort and desire but precious few clear-cut openings.
Chelsea, hoping to keep their own season alive after exiting the Champions League at the hands of Paris St Germain in midweek, had shaded the first half, enjoying the majority of the possession without really penetrating an Everton back line that was in uncompromising mood.
The first period was book-ended by a couple of Tom Cleverley shots that were comfortably gathered by Thibault Courtois, while the midfielder also dragged a shot across goal in the 25th minute, but it was a half notable more for the antics of Diego Costa.
No stranger to controversy or a bout of “handbags” at Goodison, the Spain international was booked for catching Gareth Barry around the face in an apparent act of retribution for an earlier coming together. And his team-mate Kenedy was fortunate not to join him for a succession of fouls but benefitted from referee Michael Oliver’s leniency.
The game picked up in terms of goalmouth incident after half-time, though. Ramiro Funes Mori rose highest to meet a Cleverley corner but could only steer his header over the bar. Costa then rounded the sprawling Joel Robles at the other but could only roll a shot across the face of goal.
Everton had been stepping up the pressure on Chelsea’s goal but had little more than set-pieces to show for it until Lukaku caught fire with 12 minutes to go, starting with a quite brilliant solo goal. The Belgian picked up a ball by Ross Barkley near the left touchline, shrugged off a foul by Cesar Azpilicueta, turned Gary Cahill inside and out before drilling a low shot inside the far post.
Three minutes later, Lukaku doubled his tally and the home side’s lead with another unerring finish. Played onside by Azpilicueta, Everton’s top scorer collected another pass by Barkley and drove the ball through Courtois’ legs to send the bouncing Gwladys Street End into ecstacy.
Chelsea brought on Loic Remy in a desperate attempt to drag the Londoners back into the tie but their efforts were undermined when Costa was shown a second yellow card for thrusting his face into that of Gareth Barry with five minutes left.
Barry would follow him down the tunnel three minutes later when he too picked up a second yellow for a cynical trip on Cesc Fabregas but Everton were able to hold out in comfort to progress to next month’s semi-final at Wembley.
Full coverage: ToffeeWeb match page
Reader Comments (3)
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1 Posted 12/03/2016 at 21:11:20
Great win today, and Lennon becoming the player he always promised to be in his early days.
2 Posted 12/03/2016 at 21:51:17
3 Posted 12/03/2016 at 21:53:28
Moshiri also witnessed Goodison in all is magnificent glory. Wouldn't be surprised if redevelopment was on his mind now also.
Couldnt have written the script better could we eh Blues. Everton always have always will take you from the depths of despair to pure unadulterated ecstasy in the matter of days.
What a club were are. Proud of them I am.
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