Leicester 2-4 Chelsea: Cesc Fabregas brace settles EFL Cup extra-time thriller
By Tom Bennett
Last Updated: 21/09/16 7:04am
An extra-time brace from Cesc Fabregas sent Chelsea through to the EFL Cup fourth round after a thrilling 4-2 win over Leicester at the King Power Stadium.
The Foxes surged into a two-goal lead in the first-half as Shinji Okazaki scored twice inside 34 minutes to translate an excellent Leicester performance onto the scoreboard.
But a Gary Cahill equaliser on the stroke of half-time gave the visitors hope, and Cesar Azpilicueta's stunning strike five minutes into the second 45 made it 2-2 on the night.
An end-to-end game continued to produce chances for both teams and the two managers turned to their benches to try and settle it in normal time, with weekend fixtures against Manchester United and Arsenal no doubt in the back of the minds of Claudio Ranieri and Antonio Conte.
On came Jamie Vardy and Diego Costa, but neither were able to avoid extra-time, with the Spaniard missing a gilt-edged opportunity when clean through on goal alongside a number of other decent efforts in a lively cameo.
A second Marcin Wasilewski booking sent the Foxes down to 10 men as the clock ticked into added time at the end of the 90, and Leicester were made to pay for their numerical disadvantage right at the start of extra-time.
First Fabregas was picked out by a clever Eden Hazard back-heel on the edge of the box, and two minutes later a clearance fell to the Spaniard inside the box and he smashed home his second in as many minutes to seal Chelsea's progress.
Conte's side had started the game brightly, with Marcos Alonso - on his debut - causing problems with his forward forays down the left.
Pedro thought he'd given the visitors the lead when he rounded the goalkeeper and tucked home on six minutes, only for the assistant referee to rule out the goal with a tight offside decision. And the Blues almost took the lead again when Michy Batshuayi narrowly failed to get on the end of a whipped Alonso cross.
The opening goal did arrive in the 17th minute, but it was Leicester who got it through Okazaki. And the Japanese forward made it 2-0 on 34 minutes after Andy King's clever clipped through-ball.
Leicester played with swagger and style towards the end of the first half and looked well on the way to the fourth round as Ahmed Musa and Okazaki caused havoc in the Chelsea defence. But Ranieri's side were pegged back with the final act of the opening 45 as Cahill headed in Fabregas' corner to make it 2-1 at the break.
A lively game continued to entertain after the interval, but the home fans were silenced on 50 minutes when Azpilicueta picked out the roof of the net with his superb volley.
Chances continue to flow at both ends, but neither team was able to find a third goal in regulation time, despite Leicester being sent down to ten men thanks to Wasilewski's clumsy second yellow.
But it took just four minutes of extra-time for Chelsea to win it, with Fabregas putting the Blues into the hat for the fourth round.