OPENER: Willian scored his team’s first goal
CHELSEA’S REWARD for seeing off Bournemouth in the 5th round of the Carabao Cup is an all London semi-final against Arsenal. Manchester City will face shock Carabao Cup semi-finalists Bristol City who dumped out holders Manchester United 2-1.
At Stamford Bridge the Blues were run close by a Bournemouth who came to west London with a never say die attitude. Despite going a goal behind when Willian struck, the visitors were inventive and full of confidence and should have got their reward.
Lys Mousset should have done better with a clear shot on goal which he skied. A much changed Chelsea were shaking at times and the late leveller from Dan Gosling looked to have secured extra time. Straight from the re-start however in less than ten seconds and with about the same number of touches, Chelsea carved open the Bournemouth midfield and rearguard.
The quality of substitutes Eden Hazard who raced away and then back heeled it to Alvaro Morata set up the Italian to finish in style and also finish off Bournemouth’s aspirations. It was cruel on Eddie Howe’s men who did their club proud and should have had the chance to see what may have transpired in extra time.
The draw was made shortly after Chelsea’s victory over Bournemouth and paired the Blues with London rivals Arsenal. The first leg will take place at Stamford Bridge on 9 or 10 January with the second leg away on 23 or 24 January.
Antonio Conte was relieved that his much changed side didn’t have to endure another 30 minutes of extra time, and with good reason too.
“To play 30 minutes more would have been a bit dangerous. We had a great reaction. It’s not simple to concede a goal in the last minute of the game. When you have this reaction, it means you have players with great character and heart.”
Ethan Ampadu and Kenedy were the non first team starters, the former had a solid outing in the middle of a three man defence. His early studs up challenge of Jermain Defoe earned the youngster a yellow card, while Kenedy was full of pace which caused more than a few issues for the visitors.
Conte continued, ” Last season, we were eliminated in the fourth round by West Ham. This season we must be happy with this achievement in reaching the semi-final of one of the two cups in England.
“It’s great for us, especially because we reached the semi-final with a lot of rotations. From the first game against Nottingham Forest I made a lot of rotations, and for this reason I am very happy.”
For all his tactical acumen and coaching ability, getting hit by a sucker punch as soon as his team had scored will need to be focussed on, but Bournemouth can rightLy be proud of their efforts. Howe described the manner of the defeat as ” heartbreaking.”
“The players gave everything,” said Howe “In the second half, we had waves of attack and we scored, but the last part of the game is bitterly disappointing.
“I think we’re experienced enough to know, but it’s just one of those things. The most positive thing is that our players continued to dominate the ball.”
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