Chelsea 4-2 Leicester: Late goals by Carney Chukwuemeka and Noni Madueke secured a spot in the FA Cup semi-finals for the Blues.

Chelsea 4-2 Leicester: Chelsea clinched a spot in the FA Cup semi-finals by defeating Leicester 4-2, with Carney Chukwuemeka and Noni Madueke scoring crucial late goals.

Chelsea 4-2 Leicester
Credit: News18

Initially, Chelsea had established a 2-0 advantage thanks to goals from Marc Cucurella and Cole Palmer.

However, Leicester rallied to level the score at 2-2, courtesy of an own goal from Axel Disasi and a goal from Stephy Mavididi.

The late efforts from Chukwuemeka and Madueke then clinched the victory for Chelsea, who will face the current FA Cup holders, Manchester City, in the semi-finals.

In a thrilling and eventful FA Cup match at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea faced Leicester for the first time since their 2021 final encounter at Wembley, where Leicester had triumphed.

Chelsea initially led with goals from Marc Cucurella at the 13-minute mark and Cole Palmer just before the first half ended, while Raheem Sterling missed a penalty, leaving Chelsea’s advantage less secure than it could have been.

This recurring theme of the season saw Chelsea’s lead vanish when Axel Disasi accidentally scored an own goal early in the second half, followed by a remarkable equalizing curler from Stephy Mavididi.

Leicester’s comeback was hindered when they were reduced to ten men after a VAR review led to Callum Doyle, on loan from Manchester City, receiving a red card for a foul outside the penalty area.

Despite the tension and frustration from the home crowd, evidenced by boos directed at Sterling and manager Mauricio Pochettino, Chelsea’s late resurgence came from substitutes Carney Chukwuemeka and Noni Madueke, who scored in the dying minutes of the game, avoiding extra time.

Chelsea’s victory sets them up for a semi-final clash with the current FA Cup champion, Manchester City. The match is scheduled for April 20th and 21st at Wembley.

How Chelsea battled past Leicester

Chelsea overcame Leicester in a spirited match, starting strong when an early attempt hit the post.

Their breakthrough came 13 minutes in, as Jackson’s brilliant run left Jannick Vestergaard trailing, allowing him to set up Cucurella for an easy goal at the back post.

Leicester settled into the game, but a clumsy challenge by Abdul Fatawu on Sterling awarded Chelsea a penalty.

Sterling, opting to take the shot instead of Palmer, delivered a weak attempt, comfortably saved by Leicester’s goalkeeper, Jakub Stolarczyk.

In Team News

Chelsea introduced Robert Sanchez for Dorde Petrovic in goal and started Mykhailo Mudryk following his recent goal. Enzo Fernandez was absent from the squad. Leicester saw four changes, with Stolarczyk, Callum Doyle, Wilfred Ndidi, and Patson Daka entering the lineup.

Sterling missed another key chance just before halftime but redeemed himself by assisting Palmer’s goal in stoppage time, doubling Chelsea’s lead.

The second half brought trouble for Chelsea when Disasi mistakenly passed the ball into his net. Leicester then equalized with a fine strike from Mavididi, showcasing excellent control and finishing.

Further tension arose when Chelsea was initially granted a penalty for Doyle’s foul on Jackson, but VAR intervention changed the decision to a free kick outside the box, and Doyle received a red card.

Sterling’s attempt from the free kick flew over, worsening the mood among Chelsea supporters.

Player Evaluations:

Chelsea: Sanchez (5), Gusto (5), Disasi (5), Chalobah (5), Cucurella (6), Palmer (7), Caicedo (6), Sterling (5), Gallagher (7), Mudryk (6), Jackson (7).

Substitutes: Chukwuemeka (7), Madueke (7), Chilwell (not rated).

Leicester: Stolarczyk (6), Choudhury (6), Faes (7), Vestergaard (7), Doyle (6), Winks (7), Ndidi (6), Fatawu (6), Dewsbury-Hall (7), Mavididi (6), Daka (7).

Substitutes: Akgun (6), Justin (6), Coady (6).

Pochettino encountered significant criticism from the audience but responded by making two swift substitutions, bringing on Chukwuemeka and Madueke. This strategy paid off as they penetrated Leicester’s defense in extra time.

A clever backheel from Palmer set up Chukwuemeka to score Chelsea’s third goal. However, the highlight was Madueke’s goal; after a remarkable solo effort, he curled the ball into the net, electrifying the Stamford Bridge crow.

Pochettino: We merited the victory

Chelsea’s head coach Mauricio Pochettino:

“If we had capitalized on all the opportunities we created in the first half, the game would have been over by halftime. However, the way we conceded had a significant emotional effect. We’re all aware of the unpredictable nature of the cup.

“No one can argue that we didn’t earn our spot. We rightly deserved to make it to Wembley again, first for the Carabao Cup final and now for the FA Cup semi-final. We can reach there a third time, but this team of players and staff deserves acknowledgment.

“Considering the challenges we’ve faced since the start of the season, having the chance to compete for a title twice is an enormous achievement.”

Maresca: I remained content despite being two goals behind

Statement from Leicester’s head coach, Enzo Maresca, on the club’s official website:

We didn’t win, but the team’s performance was outstanding. Maintaining our identity is crucial, and even with a 2-0 deficit in the first half, I was still pleased.

Showing our character here was significant. We aimed to maintain our approach in the second half and scored twice, and then the red card and reduction to 10 men significantly altered the match’s flow. With all the players on the field, we were gaining momentum.

Our performance was commendable. Once again, I am proud of my players. It is our style of play; we strive to maintain our preferred approach against any team. We could have scored in the first half, but sometimes that’s how the game goes.

Looking ahead:

The FA Cup semi-finals are set for the weekend of April 20th. Catch the draw on the Sky Sports website and app later today after the Man Utd vs Liverpool match.

After the international break, Chelsea will welcome Burnley to the Premier League on Saturday, March 30th, with a 3 pm kick-off.

Leicester will next play in the Championship against Bristol City on Friday, March 29th, a match broadcast live on Sky Sports, starting at 12.30 pm.


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