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18 March 2012
• Stamford Bridge, London
Referee: L. Probert
• Attendance: 38276
G. Cahill 12'
S. Kalou 18'
Fernando Torres 67', 85'
Raul Meireles 90'+
J. Beckford 78'
B. Marshall 89'
Well that brings an end to today's LIVE! play by play account of Chelsea's victory over Leicester. It was a lively, engaging and ultimately goal-filled encounter that sees Chelsea book their place in the final four of this season's FA Cup. So stick around on the site for some post-match reaction from the players and managers after today's game. I've been James McManus, you stay classy now.
Can Roberto Di Matteo replicate what Guus Hiddink did in 2009 and win the FA Cup as an interim boss? Felipe Scolari, much like Andre Villas-Boas, was usurped by player power mid-way through the campaign, and they went onto achieve what at one point in the season looked extremely unlikely by lifting the FA Cup. It begs the question, if Di Matteo manages to clinch the trophy this season, can Roman Abramovich not give him the job full-time in the summer? Interesting sub-plots aplenty.
It was a frantic finale to the game, but Chelsea looked dangerous every single time that they poured forward and the double scored by Fernando Torres will do wonders for his confidence as he ends a run of 24 games and over 24 hours without a goal. Leicester can take heart from a decent display, but in all honesty, an upset never looked likely to be on the cards here today after they fell behind early on to a Gary Cahill header. Chelsea become this season's first FA Cup semi-finalists after a dominant and eye-pleasing display of attacking football, but they still look a tad shaky at the back, which should provide plenty food for thought for interim boss Roberto Di Matteo as he now has a trip to Wembley to look forward to.
Lee Probert brings an end to a goal-filled game that finishes Chelsea 5, Leicester 2. It was a frantic, open encounter between the two sides that was played in a great spirit. The headlines will all be about Fernando Torres and quite rightly so too, as he was absolutely superb today, grabbing two goals and two assists in a true return to form. Nigel Pearson's side looked lively going forward all game but they were undone by some slack defending time and time again. Neil Danns and Jermaine Beckford delivered performances of true quality, but they simply weren't matched all over the park by the rest of the away side. Chelsea progress to the semi-final stage, their fifth in seven years now and the good vibes that Roberto Di Matteo has brought back to this in-form Chelsea side show no signs of fading any time soon.
90' + 1'
GOALLL!!!! Chelsea go right up the other end and it's a soft goal to concede from a Leicester point of view. Torres drifts in off the left-hand flank at pace and as Wes Morgan slips and falls over, the striker, on a hat-trick it has to be said, generously squares it to Raul Meireles breaking into the box, and the midfielder's side-footed effort squirms underneath Kasper Schemichel. The goalkeeper really should have done better with that one.
Leicester have a penalty appeal turned down as Bekcford goes down under a heavy looking challenge from David Luiz there. That looked like a penalty to me, and had it been given, that would have made the last five minutes a lot more interesting. Chelsea holding on, just about.
GOALLL!!!! Ben Marshall reduces the deficit with a howitzer from distance and Leicester are now just two goals behind. That was a fantastic effort from the former Stoke man from a full 30 yards that flew right into the top right-hand corner with the outstretched Cech soundly beaten.
Torres is slide tackled by Wes Morgan on the edge of the area and the ball breaks to Sturridge. The England striker takes on Konchesky inside the box, showing a deft touch in the process, beating the left-back all ends up and as he tries to take the ball round Schmeichel tight on the right side of the six yard box, the ball rolls out for a goal-kick. After some great work there, he really should have cut the ball back. Sturridge being greedy? Never.
GOALLL!!!! Torres forces a corner with another deflected effort and he looks absolutely knackered out there. Raul Meireles delivers a decent ball into the near post and Torres gets a yard on his runner, and glances in a superb header that flies into the bottom right-hand corner. He went a whopping 24 games without a goal, but he has two now on the day.
Sean St Ledger
Neil Danns break away after intercepting a Michael Essien through ball into the box, but his pass isn't read by Nugent as he cuts back the other way towards goal and the move breaks down. Leicester ending the game very well here.
Beckford skies over the bar on the run, trying to curl the ball into the top right-hand corner after some good work by Jeff Schlupp. Leicester force a corner and they are firmly on the front foot at the minute. Lee Peltier gets under the ball and nods way over the bar. The former Liverpool full-back was unmarked there and that was a big chance for the away side.
Chelsea are living somewhat dangerously on the edge of their own box at the minute and Leicester have come to life again after that goal. Chelsea, for all of their dominance, still look fragile when put under pressure at the back.
GOALLL!!!! Well, just as I say that, Beckford nets his sixth goal in the FA Cup this season. Neil Danns, who has been excellent today, hits the post with a great drive from the edge of the area, and with Cech sprawled on the floor, Beckford lifts the rebound high into the open net for his 15th goal in his last 16 FA Cup appearances. Leicester probably just about deserve a goal for all of their effort today.
Lloyd Dyer has a crack at goal from way outside the box, and the ball deflects into Beckford's path with Ivanovic beaten, but the FA Cup's joint-top scorer cannot grab his sixth goal of the competition and extend his great run as Petr Cech gets down superbly to Beckford's stinging effort low to his right. Great save, that.
That third goal all but ends the tie as a contest but Leicester still fancy opening their account and they've been bright since going three goals down. David Nugent trips at the crucial moment as he attempts to deliver the ball into the box to strike-partner Beckford and the ball is knocked behind for a corner.
What's that saying about two buses coming along at once, again? There's a further shock as Daniel Sturridge actually passes the ball for once inside the box to Torres, whose late run sees him strike a vicious curling effort just over the bar with Schmeichel beaten.
GOALLLL!!!! The wait is finally over and after 24 hours without a goal, Fernando Torres has found the back of the net. It's not a classic finish, but they all count and after some neat work by Mikel and Meireles, the Portuguese midfielder's low cross into the box is scuffed home at the far post by Torres. He looks pretty happy with that one and so he should, he's been excellent today.
Daniel Sturridge has another crack at goal as the space ahead of him opens up, and as he jinks one way and the other, his lef-footed effort curls over the bar. Every other Chelsea player just stopped moving there, not even expecting a pass. Roberto Di Matteo does not look a happy bunny on the bench after that either. I'll say it one more time for the people in the cheao seats, Daniel Sturridge is almost illogically greedy.
Another Chelsea move breaks down as Malouda's chip over the top to Torres goes straight into Schmeichel's gloves, but as leicester break quickly down the right, Lloyd Dyer's cross-come-shot is drilled right across the six yard box, and goes out for a goal-kick. Jermaine Beckford should perhaps have done a bit more to get on the end of that there.
Leicester force a corner on a rare forray forward and David Nugent is at the heart of it again, drifting inbetween the back four and the midfield in front of him. His square ball to Wellens is then knocked out wide to St Ledger, whose cross is cut out by Mikel. Konchesky's corner is decent, but Chelsea clear.
Ryan Bertrand has got the freedom of London down the left-hand flank and as his cross is flung in, Fernando Torres controls it and looks to have a clear sight on goal, but Konchesky's late block sees the chance go begging. The wait continues....
Torres beats the offside trap from a lofted through ball, but the angle is against him and as he tries to square the ball across goal, Shaun St Ledger gets back just in time with Daniel Sturridge ready to pounce and the ball is kncoked out for a corner.
Chelsea moving the ball from side to side now to the delight of the home crowd. They certainly look like they are playing with a degree of confidence right now. What a difference a sacked manager makes.
Malouda has another crack on goal from outside the box that flies wide. Chelsea are seemingly operating with a shoot-on-sight policy at the moment, and a third goal doesn't look too far away.
Chelsea are on the break and as the ball is worked out wide on the right to Daniel Sturridge with five blue shirts in the box, he elects to take on Konchesky and Morgan instead of crossing the ball first-time and as he trips over the ball, the move breaks down. So very greedy by Sturridge there, which it has to be said, is the main criticism of his lively play.
Substitute Florent Malouda has a crack from 30 yards out and Schmeichel does very well to get down low to his left and tip the ball away.
A third goal early in the half really would signal an end to Leicester's already slim hopes here and they go close after Ryan Bertrand jinks past two Leicester players as he breaks into the box, but his floated cross fails to connect with anybody and the away side get the ball away. Bertrand looks some player in the making to my rather untrained eyes.
Petr Cech is quick to react to a potentially dangerous Neil Danns through ball into Lloyd Dyer's path and the goalkeeper collects the ball on the slide. Chelsea still look pretty comfortable at the moment, though.
Leicester have it all to do this second half now and the likes of Beckford, Nugent and Danns will have to play out of their skins if they are to get anything from this tie.
Chelsea have made a change at half-time with Juan Mata going off and Florent Malouda coming on in his place. A sign that Di Matteo thinks that the job is already done?
Roberto Di Matteo, I refuse to call him 'RDM' by the way, his name just isn't that long, will be thoroughly pleased with his team's first-half display. He looks to be doing a job very similar to the one Guus Hiddink did during his short stay as caretaker back in 2009. This Chelsea side pretty much picks itself at times, it's when the manager tries to pick it that everything goes wrong it seems. No wonder Di Matteo was quick to play down reports of player power in the Stamford Bridge dressing room, he wants the gig full-time after all, and the players he selects could well be the defining decision-makers in such a matter.
A dominant opening half by the hosts sees Chelsea go in at the break two goals to the good. Gary Cahill and Soloman Kalou may have been the scorers but Juan Mata and Fernando Torres have been a delight to watch at times together as they claim the assists for both goals. Leicester have looked ropey at the back for the majority of the half, and although they don't look out of the game altogether just yet, Chelsea really should be more than just the two goals up. Nigel Pearson's side have had their moments, though, and Jermaine Beckford has had a couple of half-chances which he should have perhaps done better with. Chelsea are ahead at the break and look good value for the win on the evidence so far.
Jose Bosingwa is beaten by a Paul Konchesky through ball down the left and David Nugent is alone as he runs into the box, but his cut back has too much pace on it and Lloyd Dyer can't adjust his body quick enough and as he opens up his body to try and curl the ball into the top right-hand corner. The winger only succeeds in lifting the ball over the bar and the chance is gone. Lee Probert then brings the half to an end.
Both sides look content to play out the remainder of the half now, and the tempo has dropped off just a tad.
Neil Danns delivers a delightful through ball in the corridor of uncertainty for both Cahill and Petr Cech as Beckford drives into the box, but Chelsea clear for a corner after a last-ditch Cahill tackle. Torres then manages to get a great defensive header on the resulting corner as the home side work the ball away and up the other end of the pitch, but that all comes to an end when Daniel Sturridge drags his shot harmlessly wide from 25 yards out when there looked to be better options available. Sturridge will literally shoot from anywhere.
Tidy work by David Nugent in the channel as he lays the ball off into the middle and Paul Gallagher sees his effort deflected behind for a corner. The story of the former Blackburn man's half continues, though, as his ball into the box fails to beat the first man.
Interim England boss Stuart Pearce is watching from the stands and he will have been mightily impressed by Sturridge and Bertrand so far, less so by Gary Cahill, despite the goal. Oh, and probably not at all by Paul Konchesky, who has done his best impression of the invisible man at left-back today.
Mata and Torres look to be on the same wavelength today and then some as Kasper Schemichel is forced into another smart stop after some fine work between the two on the edge of the box.
What on earth is Gary Cahill doing? He intercepts the ball in front of Beckford and as he attempts to bring the ball out of the back, his touch is far too heavy and Neil Danns picks his pocket and drives into the box, but his drilled effort is well saved by Cech low to his left and Leicester have a corner. Gallagher then wastes it with a pointless outswinging delivery. Why do teams persist with outswinging corners still? They hardly ever work, as Cahill himself will attest to today after opening the scoring from a delicious inswinger from Juan Mata.
David Nugent finds himself some space drifting between the lines on the edge of the box and as he picks out Beckford in a more central position, the former Everton man drags his shot wide. He has to hit the target from there.
Chelsea carve open Leicester once again and it looks as if they are merely toying with the away side now. Juan Mata finds Kalou in the box and as the winger cuts back onto his right foot and pokes an effort at goal, Richie Wellens intercepts it, rounds his own goalkeeper and clears it away.
By the way, Chelsea have Essien, Lampard and Drogba all on the bench in reserve today, while John Terry doesn't even make the matchday squad. For Roberto Di Matteo it's called 'managing his resources' but if Villas-Boas had done this, he'd have been absolutely slated. It doesn't look like they're going to need any of them today if the game stays like it is, mind you.
This has been an extremely open game so far and you can see why Leicester are the Jekyll and Hyde side of the Championship. They look dangerous going forward and absolutely clueless at the back.
Some nice interplay between Mata and Torres on the edge of the box sees the striker make himself a yard of space and launch a fierce drive that Schmeichel palms away for a corner. Richie Wellens then has a hopeful looking effort from 30 yards that never threatens Cech's goal. Torres is looking something close to his best here.
Mata is heavily involved once again as his dinked cross finds Torres who heads into Schemichel's palms and the away side hack the ball clear. Close but no cigar and that was a truly brilliant touch by Mata to create space there in the box with St Ledger in close attention.
Chelsea look in the mood for this today. Another cross-field pass by Mata is taken brilliantly by Sturridge and as he surges past Bamba, he lifts the ball just over Schmeichel and fractionally wide with Torres lurking. Magnificent football.
GOAL!!!! Soloman Kalou doubles the score and Fernando Torres has done brilliantly there to lay it on a plate for him. Leicester are caught way too high up the pitch and Torres motors down the right-hand flank when the ball is cleared to him, with a turn of pace that leaves Bamba for dead. His ball into the middle finds Kalou whose first touch takes him away from St Ledger as he moves into the box and he manages to just poke the ball past the onrushing Kasper Schmeichel.
Leicester do look comfortable when in possession but they look like they just lack that cutting edge in the final third.
Mata is beginning to pull the strings, and Chelsea should be two up. His through ball pulls Sol Bamba all out of position and Sturridge cuts back in the box onto his favoured left peg, but his through ball to Mata just six yards out is blocked on the line.
GOAL!!!! Gary Cahill opens the scoring after nodding in an excellent inswinging corner from Juan Mata inside the six yard box and Chelsea have the lead. The former Bolton captain lept extremely well there and as he peals away to celebrate he reveals a t-shirt underneath highlighting his support for Fabrice Muamba. Imagine if Lee Probert had booked him for that?
Torres wins a corner after a tidy run down the Leicester right, and his cross is cut out by Bamba.
Neil Danns, who turned down both Celtic and Rangers in the summer to join Leicester, drives at the heart of the Chelsea back four and slips in Beckford to his left on the edge of the area unmarked, but the striker's curled effort floats wide. Good start by the away side here.
Some neat play between Beckford and Gallagher down the right sees Chelsea come under their first piece of pressure. In the midst of all of that Bekcford went down under a clumsy looking Meireles tackle in the area. I've seen them given as they say, there was contact but at the same time it looked as if Beckford was looking for contact there. There's a fine line between anticipation and diving isn't there?
Lloyd Dyer is set away down the left and his cross is flung in towards Nugent and Beckford. The ball is headed away by Cahill and Neil Danns has a horribly scuffed pop from 25 yards out that Bertrand controls and plays out from the back.
Chelsea look full of intent already as they enjoy a decent spell of possession in and around the edge of the box, but this Leicester side look a fairly well drilled and organised outfit so far.
Leicester's tactic of working it out wide to the wings has become apparent already, but Meireles clears a poor Lloyd Dyer ball from the left. Chelsea break up the other end and a darting run from Torres feeds in Mata on the edge of the area, but his effort is defelected behind for the game's first corner. Nothing comes of the ball in, though.
Chelsea kick-off and we are underway. A huge audition for Robert Di Matteo's hopes of clinching the job full-time in the summer today. A loss here to Leicester would all but end any slim hopes he may harbour.
A minute's applause has been held in support of Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba who suffered a reported heart attack on the pitch during yesterday's game against Tottenham.
The referee for this afternoon's game is Lee Probert and we are now just moments away from the action kicking off with the players lined up alongside eachother in the tunnel.
A lot of attention today will turn to Fernando Torres, and some might say rightly so, after the £50m striker has now gone past the 24-hour mark without finding the back of the net. You really don't get a lot for your money these days do you? Di Matteo has chosen to thrust him in against Championship opposition today from the start with the obvious hope being that the drop in quality will ensure more time and space for the Spaniard in front of goal in an attempt to try and break what is a truly shocking duck.
Leicester line-up much as expected with Paul Konchesky returning in place of Tom Kennedy at left-back after serving a three-match suspension for a red card he received in the game against Coventry. Jeff Schlupp, Lee Peltier and Steve Howard all return to the bench after various spells on the sidelines.
Leicester's line-up for today looks like this: Schmeichel, St. Ledger, Morgan, Bamba, Konchesky, Gallagher, Wellens, Danns, Dyer, Nugent, Beckford. Subs: Smith, Peltier, Howard, Marshall, Schlupp, Kennedy, Hopper
Chelsea retain the services of just four of those that started during their dramatic 4-1 extra-time Champions League win against Napoli. Petr Cech, Branislav Ivanovic, Daniel Sturridge and Juan Mata all keep their places, meanwhile Ryan Bertrand makes just his sixth start for the club at left-back.
Time for some team news and here is Chelsea's line-up for today's game: Cech, Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Cahill, Bertrand, Mikel, Meireles, Sturridge, Mata, Kalou, Torres. Subs: Hilario, Luiz, Essien, Lampard, Drogba, Malouda, Ferreira.
A few choice statistics to bring you ahead of today's game. Chelsea are appearing in their sixth FA Cup quarter-final in the last seven years, and rather ominously for Nigel Pearson, they've also progressed through to the semi-final stage four times in the last six years. A lot of the Foxes hopes today will rest on Jermaine Beckford's shoulders, with the former Everton striker the competition's joint-top scorer so far this season with five goals to his name. He also boasts a superb record of 14 goals in his last 15 FA Cup appearances and is no stranger to upsetting the odds against heavily fancied opponents, finding the back of the net during Leeds 1-0 away win against Manchester United at Old Trafford in the third-round FA Cup tie between the two bitter rivals back in January 2010.
Good afternoon everyone and happy Mother's Day to all our female followers, my name is James McManus and I shall be running you through the play by play action of today's FA Cup quarter-final tie between Chelsea and Leicester at Stamford Bridge. Interim Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo is searching for his fourth win on the trot since taking over the reins, while Nigel Pearson is looking to seal Leicester's first semi-final place in 30 years and add some gloss onto what has been a desperately disappointing and frustratingly inconsistent league campaign so far for them this year.
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