FA Cup Match Report: Everton 2-0 Chelsea

evertoncrestLukaku brace steers Toffees into FA Cup last four.chelsea

Everton 2 (0) – (0) 0 Chelsea

Lukaku 78′ 83′         Costa sent off 84′

Barry sent off 87′                                        

Goodison Park (Attendance: 37,283)

Everton have reached the FA Cup semi-finals for the third time in seven years after Romelu Lukaku’s late brace of goals sank Chelsea at Goodison Park.

The striker showed off his undoubted physical attributes before sliding the ball home for his first, before arrowing his second firmly under the legs of Thibaut Courtois to secure victory.

Diego Costa and Gareth Barry both saw red in a pulsating last 15 minutes that more than made up for an average match up until that point.

Barry, Leighton Baines and Tom Cleverley all returned to the Everton starting line up as the Toffees looked to put last Saturday’s home defeat to West Ham United behind them.

And it was the latter of the trio who almost drew first blood a mere 43 seconds into the contest – the England international producing a routine stop from Courtois after a cut back from Baines.

Kenedy then fired over the bar following a neat one-two with Pedro, while Costa received the first of his two yellow cards after a challenge on Barry left the midfielder crumpled in a heap on the pitch.

The match slumped into a lull soon after, with Lukaku’s wayward header the only chance of note as a cagey affair took hold.

Joel Robles shepherded Pedro wide of the goal after the Spaniard had seemingly been played through on goal by compatriot Cesc Fabregas, before Willain forced Everton’s keeper into a fine save – the 25 year old tipping the Brazilian’s free kick over his crossbar.

Cleverley brought the best out of Courtois with another first time effort on the stroke of half-time, but that was as good as it got for either team ahead of the interval.

Ramiro Funes Mori nodded a Baines corner over the upright five minutes after the restart as the Blues looked to steal a match on the visitors.

But it was Costa who went closer still to breaking the deadlock – rounding Funes Mori’s tackle and Robles before watching on as his shot trickled across the goal line with no Chelsea player on hand to prod home.

Ross Barkley sent a stinging effort well over the bar, while Lukaku was thwarted by a combination of Courtois and Branislav Ivanovic following Cleverley’s intricate through ball.

And, just as it looked like proceedings were lurching toward a stalemate, up popped Everton’s talisman to score his first goal against his former employees.

Barkley’s pass released Lukaku down the left flank and, after squaring up Ivanovic and Cesar Azpilicueta, the 22-year-old jinked inside the former before shrugging off the latter with brute strength.

Bearing down on goal, the Belgian shuffled past John Obi Mikel, raced into the area, spun Gary Cahill inside out and fired low past Courtois into the opposite corner to send Goodison wild.

It was a goal worthy of winning any contest, but Lukaku wasn’t finished yet.

After winning the ball from a Chelsea throw in, Barry found Barkley who, in turn, played a slide rule ball into the path of the onside Lukaku.

One glance from the striker, to see where Courtois was, was all he needed before driving the ball home under the body of his international colleague to make absolutely sure of Everton’s progression into the last-four of the competition.

Goodison cheered one final time as Costa was given his marching orders with five minutes to go – the forward reacting badly to Barry’s foul by butting his head toward the 34-year-old before slyly biting him on the neck.

Barry too was sent for an early bath for a second bookable offence following a cynical foul on Fabregas, but Everton had done enough to secure passage to the semi-finals, and a trip to Wembley, once more.

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Tom Power is a 28 year old trainee journalist and assistant editor of NSNO.

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