Leicester 1-2 Chelsea (AET): Blues edge into FA Cup semi-finals after extra-time
By Charlotte Marsh
Last Updated: 19/03/18 6:31am
Chelsea edged into the FA Cup semi-finals on Sunday as they beat Leicester 2-1 thanks to a goal from Pedro in extra-time.
The Blues took the lead in the first half as Alvaro Morata (42) scored his first goal of 2018 just before the break, but Jamie Vardy (75) deservedly levelled things up in the second period.
It sent the game into 30 minutes of extra-time, and the game was meandering towards the end of the first period when Pedro (105) popped up to nod home N'Golo Kante's cross to send Chelsea into the semi-finals.
The draw was made following the game, and the Blues will face Southampton at Wembley on the weekend of the 21/22 of April.
Leicester: Schmeichel (6), Simpson (7), Morgan (6), Maguire (7), Chilwell (7), Ndidi (7), Iborra (6), Mahrez (7), Albrighton (7), Iheanacho (6), Vardy (7).
Subs used: Okazaki (6), Silva (5), Diabate (5), Gray (n/a).
Chelsea: Caballero (7), Azpilicueta (7), Christensen (6), Rudiger (7), Moses (7), Bakayoko (5), Kante (8), Alonso (7), Willian (7), Morata (7), Hazard (7).
Subs used: Fabregas (7), Pedro (6), Cahill (5), Giroud (5).
Man of the match: N'Golo Kante.
Leicester began well at the King Power Stadium and could have taken the lead within minutes but Marc Albrighton's volley from the top of the area just went wide of the post. The Foxes could also have snuck a header home in the 12th minute, but Wes Morgan's effort from an Albrighton corner also flew past the upright.
Chelsea took a while to get going but finally tested Kasper Schmeichel in the 27th minute. Marcos Alonso was given plenty of space to get away down the left flank before cutting the ball back to Morata at the top of the box. However, his fizzing strike was saved well by the Leicester goalkeeper.
However, the Blues did find the breakthrough with three minutes of the half to play. It was a fine counter-attack as Willian burst down the field, sweeping past Ben Chilwell and Wilfred Ndidi, before picking out Morata. The striker then took a few strides before slotting home into the far bottom corner to score his first goal since Boxing Day.
Both sides made two changes from their last games. Marc Albrighton and Kelechi Iheanacho came in for Demarai Gray and Shinji Okazaki while Tiemoue Bakayoko and Alvaro Morata replaced Cesc Fabregas and Olivier Giroud.
Leicester reacted well after the break and could have equalised in the 54th minute. Ndidi lifted a superb ball over the top for Vardy and it met his head, but his powerful effort sent the ball past the post rather than into the bottom corner, much to his frustration.
But he got his goal in the 75th minute to ultimately send the game into extra-time. It was a scrappy one though as Riyad Mahrez got to the byline to cut the ball back into the area, with Vardy's initial effort blocked. Vicente Iborra then had two bites of the cherry - one blocked and one saved by Willy Caballero - before Vardy finished off the rebounded through the arms of the Chelsea goalkeeper.
As the game headed towards the end of the 90 minutes, both goalkeepers made good saves. Caballero pushed away a shot from Vardy at the far post before Schmeichel made two saves from Morata, palming away his initial shot before smothering the second effort.
The first half of extra-time was a scrappy affair, but Pedro decided the tie with his goal in the 105th minute. Kante's superb lofted ball into the area saw the Spaniard rise ahead of the oncoming Schmeichel to nod the ball into an empty net.
Leicester's best chance for another equaliser came three minutes in the second period with a scramble in the box following a Mahrez free-kick. After a lay off from Vardy following a cut back from Harry Maguire, Mahrez saw his effort blocked before Fousseni Diabate's shot at the near post was turned behind by Victory Moses as Chelsea saw out the game.
- Chelsea have reached the FA Cup semi-finals for the second successive year, and for the fourth time in the last seven seasons.
- Of the last three occasions where Chelsea have faced Leicester in the FA Cup before this season, the Blues have knocked them out en route to winning the competition (1997, 2000 and 2012).
- Jamie Vardy has now scored 10 goals in his 12 appearances in all competitions against 'big six' opposition this season.
- Alvaro Morata's goal was his first strike in 14 appearances in all competitions for Chelsea, ending his longest run without a goal since joining the club.
Man of the match - N'Golo Kante
There have been many man-of-the-match performances from Kante at the King Power Stadium, but this time it was for the opposition who relied on him a lot to help them into the next round.
It was a scrappy contest in the middle of the park but Kante was often there to recover the ball for Chelsea, and keep Leicester from making too many forays forward. He also picked up an assist for the winning goal and continues to be the key cog in Chelsea's midfield engine room.
Following a two week international break, Leicester will travel to Brighton in the Premier League on Saturday, March 31, while Chelsea will take on Tottenham on Sunday, April 1 live on Sky Sports.