21st of December 2017

Blues on Cup last-four after last-gap win at The Bridge (2-1)

A dramatic stoppage-time Alvaro Morata goal scored only one minute after Bournemouth had equalised took the Blues into next month’s Carabao Cup semi-finals, the visitors having given us a tough contest in the final game at Stamford Bridge before Christmas.

Willian’s opening goal scored early in the game and a move to admire had looked to be the winner. For the rest of the first half that followed, Antonio Conte’s men were in control, but the visitors from Dorest immediately upped their game at the start of the second period and had more chances for an equaliser than we did a second goal.

However it was not until the 90th-minute that they did breakthrough with a sweet Dan Gosling shot, but almost immediately after the restart and with extra-time looming large, substitutes Morata and Eden Hazard combined to break the Cherries' hearts and send Chelsea into the last-four stage of this competition for the 13th time in our history. We will play Arsenal over two legs. Pedro was on the starting line-up and played a good 62-minute perfoormance before his replacement by Bakayoko.

Although the Blues team today was much changed from the one which played another south-coast side Southampton at the weekend, it bore a strong resemblance to the selection that overcame Everton in the previous round of this competition.

Andreas Christensen was rested however so 17-year-old Ethan Ampadu, who played in midfield against the Toffees, was asked to operate in defence tonight with Cesc Fabregas playing in the middle of the park. Charly Musonda missed out through injury so Pedro completed the front three, along with Willian and Michy Batshuayi.

For Ampadu, the game started with a yellow card, shown for a foul on Jermain Defoe, 18 years his senior. After that, it took the game a while to produce any attacking play of note, although Chelsea had by far the greater share of possession. Then came Willian’s 13th-minute opener and it was a peach, made by the team’s fluid movement off the ball.

Batshuayi and Kenedy had supporting roles, the centre-forward with a ball round the corner and the left wing-back with a heeled pass into the path of Fabregas, who ran into space in the penalty area and squared the ball. There was no repeat of Willian’s miss against Atletico from similar distance here at the Bridge so the Blues were ahead early in this game.

Defoe’s match for Bournemouth proved to be short-lived, with injury forcing him off inside 20 minutes, and it was his replacement Jordon Ibe who blasted Bournemouth’s best opportunity of the half wide after Willian had been forced to lose the ball by a painful challenge.

At the other end, Batshuayi was lined up to turn Davide Zappacosta’s pass goalwards until a vital touch by a stretching opponent. He did get a shot away from another Zappacosta pass soon after but that was blocked and Cahill shot powerfully from distance in the follow-up, and did not miss by far.

Fabregas picked up a first-half booking but there was a chance to double our advantage before the interval and it was of Kenedy’s own making as he nicked the ball off the dozing Adam Smith in midfield, but having carried it to the edge of the area, the Brazilian shanked his shot.

There had however been enough sharpness in the Chelsea play to force several mistakes from the visitors, and those up against Batshuayi had been in a physical game, but the second half would be a different story.

The Cherries won a couple of corners at the start of it, which caused some difficulties for Chelsea. Ampadu, however, was important in thwarting some open-play attacks and was one of our brighter performers in the second period.

In contrast to the first half, we were now looking second best, so Antonio Conte made a double substitution, with Eden Hazard and Tiemoue Bakayoko replacing Willian and Pedro and the formation switching to 3-5-2. Morata on for Batshuayi would follow.

Before those replacements could have any impact, Zappacosta became the third Chelsea player booked, for a foul on Ryan Fraser, and Gosling wasted a good Bournemouth chance.

Bournemouth picked up two bookings of their own as Chelsea tried to take the game to them again, but the visitors went close through Ibe.

The pressure stayed on our defence but we looked to have survived it as the clock clicked onto 89 minutes played. There was however another chance for Bournemouth to send the ball high into our box. Morata’s clearing header lacked distance, the ball was played square for Gosling to beat Willy Caballero and find the Shed End net.

We need not have worried. There was still time to play the ball out of half and up to Morata who flicked on to Hazard. The Belgian could have gone for goal himself but instead returned the pass square and although Artur Boruc got a contact on Morata’s shot, the keeper could not prevent the killer blow. A booking that followed Morata's celebration means he is suspended for the game at Everton.

- Match stats:

Chelsea (3-4-3): Caballero; Rudiger, Ampadu, Cahill (c); Zappacosta, Fabregas, Drinkwater, Kenedy; Willian (Hazard 61), BatshuayI (Morata 73), Pedro (Bakayoko 61).

Scorers Willian 13, Morata 90+1

Booked Amapdu 2, Fabregas 39, Zappacosta 63, Morata 90+2

Bournemouth (4-5-1): Boruc; A Smith, Francis (c), S Cook, Simpson; Mousset (Wilson 71), Arter (L Cook 73), Surman, Gosling, Fraser; Defoe (Ibe 17).

Unused subs Ramsdale, Ake, Hyndman, Pugh, Butcher.

Scorer Gosling 90

Booked Surman 72, Francis 75, A Smith 82, Gosling 90

Referee Lee Mason

Crowd 41,168

- Match report by chelseafc.com

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