England FA Cup
Everton 2, Chelsea 0
Everton Romelu Lukaku 77', 82'
Romelu Lukaku effectively ended Chelsea’s miserable season by scoring twice against his former club to send Everton into the FA Cup semi-finals.
Chelsea’s turmoil was compounded after conceding the goals, with Diego Costa sent off after butting and appearing to almost bite Gareth Barry, although there was no reaction from the Everton midfielder.
The FA Cup exit followed Chelsea being eliminated from the Uefa Champions League by Paris Saint-Germain.
Any hopes of defending the Premier League trophy were extinguished long ago, with Chelsea currently 10th and highly likely to miss out on European football next season.
Lukaku beat the combined defensive might of Cesar Azpilicueta, Jon Obi Mikel, Branislav Ivanovic and Gary Cahill to score a brilliant individual opening goal.
He then finished off the visitors with a clinical right-footed strike to give his side their first visit to Wembley since the 2012 semi-final.
Lukaku was deemed surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge by Jose Mourinho, but since moving to Everton he has scored 63 goals in 118 appearances and has 25 this season alone.
“It feels great, I am just happy for the team and to do something we wanted,” said Lukaku.
“I think the first goal is the best thing, I didn’t know where I was going but then I was in the box.
“If you wan to win cups, you have to beat the big teams.
“I don’t think I have anything to prove to Chelsea, I went there as an 18-year-old and learnt the trade of being a professional footballer. I will always be grateful to them.”
Majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri, attending his first match since acquiring a 49.9 per cent stake in the club, has pledged to provide the cash to keep their star players and he would be well advised to make the big striker an offer he cannot refuse as soon as possible.
Almost single-handedly Lukaku inflicted Guus Hiddink’s first domestic victory since taking over in mid-December and to compound matters for the Dutch caretaker boss, Costa was sent off late on after a clash with Gareth Barry which may invite further scrutiny.
The Spain international pushed his face into Barry’s neck, seemingly intent on biting him, but appeared to withdraw at the last moment.
The players then embraced but Costa was still shown a red card – and Barry followed moments later for a second booking.
While there had been no indication in the preceding 77 minutes of the brilliance which Lukaku produced, the late flurry of yellow and red cards was entirely predictable.
There were more fouls than shots in a scrappy, over-physical first half which surprisingly saw only two bookings.
It was absolutely no surprise Costa was one, cautioned for jumping into Barry in retribution for the midfielder’s foul on him earlier.
It was not until the 44th minute there was a save of any note as Joel Robles tipped over Willian’s free-kick.
Costa came closest to breaking the deadlock just before the hour but having skipped past Ramiro Funes Mori and Robles, his shot from the acutest of angles rolled along the goal line and past the far post.
Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was powerless to deny Lukaku when he set off with such drive and determination Chelsea’s defenders just could not handle him. Having wove his way past four players, he confidently stroked home.
His second, from the other side of the penalty area, was less spectacular but equally clinical.
Chelsea knew the game was up but Costa’s decision to clash with Barry was patently ridiculous, considering what had gone before.
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