Chelsea marched into the FA Cup semi-finals with a ruthless 2-0 victory over Championship play-off chasers Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday evening.
First-half strikes from Romelu Lukaku and Hakim Ziyech put Chelsea in the driving seat heading into the break. A quieter second period saw relatively few chances of note, but the Blues remained professional to progress to the semi-finals amid all their uncertainty.
Lukaku opened the scoring inside the first quarter of an hour, turning home Mason Mount’s cross from close-range. Mount turned provider again with half an hour played, setting up Ziyech who doubled the Blues lead with a dipping strike from distance.
Chris Wilder’s men refused to lie down in the second half and kept Chelsea on their toes, the fans were the 12th man and did everything to inspire a comeback, however, it’s the Blues who booked a date with Wembley, bringing an end to Boro’s inspired FA Cup journey.
After the international break, Chelsea host Brentford in a south-west London derby at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League. Middlesbrough return to Championship action when they travel to Peterborough United looking to chase down the play-off positions.
Blues cruise on choppy waters. Despite the uncertainty which continues to surround Chelsea off the pitch, the players and staff are keeping the ship afloat with some convincing displays on the field. They have progressed into the quarter-finals of the Champions League and the semi-finals of the FA Cup in the space of four days, while tightening their grip on third place in the Premier League. The international break promises to be an interesting fortnight for the Blues, with the deadline for bids from prospective owners having now closed. What happens to the club between now and their return to Premier League action against Brentford on 2nd April remains to be seen but will be watched closely by many.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Mason Mount (Chelsea) The 23-year-old is the gift which keeps on giving. He has assisted more goals than any other Chelsea player under Thomas Tuchel, proving why those who have had the privilege of coaching him have rated him so highly. Mount was on hand to set up both Blues goals this evening. His creativity and flair are accompanied by a relentless work ethic and passion to play for the shirt. England duty comes calling for the midfield man with Switzerland and Ivory Coast facing the Three Lions, matches where Mount is likely to feature after his impressive displays in blue of late.
M’boro: Lumley 6, Dijksteel 6, McNair 6, Fry 6, Jones 6, Crooks 6, Howson 6, Tavernier 6, Taylor 6, Balogun 6, Connolly 6.
Subs: Peltier 6, Watmore 6, Bamba 6, Bola 6, Coburn 6.
Chelsea: Mendy 7, Azpilicueta 7, Silva 7, Rudiger 7, Sarr 7, Kovacic 7, Loftus-Cheek 7, Mount 8, Ziyech 7, Pulisic 7, Lukaku 7.
Subs: Kenedy 6, Kante 7, Vale 6, Werner 7.
14’ GOAL! BORO 0-1 CHELSEA (LUKAKU) – The Blues take the lead with quarter of an hour played and it’s Lukaku who breaks the deadlock! Mount slides a well-weighted ball into the centre of the box where the big Belgian was waiting to calmly tuck the ball past Lumley in the Boro goal. Advantage to the visitors!
30’ GOAL! BORO 0-2 CHELSEA (ZIYECH) – Well, just as Boro’s chins were up, Ziyech has delivered a crushing blow with a well-struck effort which doubles Chelsea’s lead. The birthday boy cuts inside from the left after receiving the ball from Mount, firing across Lumley and into the bottom corner to give the Blues a two-goal cushion.