Late Lukaku brace sees Everton down Chelsea in feisty FA Cup clash
Lee Gormley | March 12, 2016
Everton 2-0 Chelsea
- Diego Costa booked after just 10 minutes
- Sides go into half-time level at 0-0
- Romelu Lukaku strikes against former club in second-half
- The Belgian nets again only moments later
- Costa and Gareth Barry both dismissed late on
Everton reach semi-finals
A superb second-half double from in-form frontman Romelu Lukaku helped Everton overcome Chelsea 2-0 in their FA Cup quarter-final encounter at Goodison Park, with both Diego Costa and Gareth Barry being dismissed late on.
Belgium international Lukaku produced a sensational solo effort to open proceedings after 77 minutes and added another just moments later to dump his former employers out of the competition – also ensuring Guus Hiddink will not be lifting any silverware this season.
Costa was shown his first ever Chelsea red card after 84 minutes for a tussle with Toffees midfielder Barry, while the latter was soon dismissed as well following a clumsy tackle on Cesc Fabregas, with both players receiving two cautions.
Everton start swiftly as Costa booked
The Blues had won their last four FA Cup quarter-final appearances before this encounter with Roberto Martinez’s men, and makeshift Brazilian left back Kenedy almost kicked-off further success on Merseyside after just two minutes, but his attempt was sent well over the crossbar.
Everton’s opponents made several high-profile attempts to acquire John Stones last summer but the England centre back was dropped for in-form Argentina international Ramiro Funes Mori against his former suitors, while Eden Hazard was left on the bench after the defeat to PSG.
With only 10 minutes played at Goodison, feisty frontman Costa was instantly involved in a typically brash tussle with the Everton players, following a strong collision with Barry, as the Spain striker was cautioned for his actions.
The hosts were showing great energy in the first-half, giving the likes of Fabregas and Willian no time to turn, with Republic of Ireland full back Seamus Coleman and central defender Phil Jagielka both making crunching tackles on Pedro Rodriguez and Costa to halt any danger.
It was clear that Everton were targeting Kenedy as a weak link in the Chelsea backline and, after 23 minutes the Samba youngster was lucky to have escaped punishment for taking out his constant tormentor Aaron Lennon.
Willian threatens from free-kick
Just before the half hour mark, Coleman picked out his future international opposition at Euro 2016 with a delightful right-sided delivery, but Lukaku was unable to make anything of the opportunity after edging away from Gary Cahill.
Having made such a high-tempo start to proceedings, the Toffees were happy to sit back and withstand plenty of Chelsea pressure before half-time to regain their energy, but it was a dangerous ploy as Fabregas was finding himself in potential dangerous positions.
The Spaniard again popped up on the edge of the Everton penalty to win a threatening free-kick from a solid Jagielka challenge, and set-piece specialist Willian’s subsequent forced a save from Joel Robles to make sure all was even at the break.
When the two top-flight outfits met for a domestic encounter earlier this term, the game ended 3-3 after being scoreless at half-time, and Funes Mori nearly got things rolling in the second period but his header from a Tom Cleverley corner sailed marginally over Thibaut Courtois’ goal.
Lukaku fires in classy cup opener
Fabregas once again couldn’t believe his luck after 57 minutes, as the Spanish playmaker found acres of space to run into and his pinpoint through ball unleashed international teammate Costa, but the forward’s effort trickled along the line before rolling safe after rounding Funes Mori and Joel.
With 66 minutes gone, a charging Leighton Baines looked set to have a crack at a loose ball on the edge of Chelsea’s area, but Barry angered him by taking possession instead, with a more involved Ross Barkley seeing his subsequent shot hit the stands.
Swift link-up play between Bakley, Lukaku and Lennon also forced an opening after 71 minutes at Goodison, if not for a crucial clearance from Spaniard Cesar Azpilicueta, as an imposing Branislav Ivanovic and co cleared any danger.
With less than quarter of an hour gone, Belgian frontman Lukaku sprung to life and breathed a sense of urgency into this subdued quarter-final tie, as he bulldozed by four Chelsea defenders and tucked home the opener past his former employers.
Two late dismissals
Only moments later it was Lukaku that haunted his old teammates again, this time firing in from the right side past a helpless Courtois, as he stayed onside from a Barkley through ball to clinically dispatch a second.
Chelsea’s misery was compounded after 83 minutes when a hot-headed Costa picked up his first ever Blues red card for aggressively pushing his head into Barry.
John Terry was sent on by Hiddink in centre forward as a last-ditch effort to revive hopes, with Barry then seeing a late sending off as well for a cynical challenge on Fabregas, but the hosts held on to reach a semi-final spot at Wembley. Everton are now 7/2 with Coral to win the FA Cup.