Chelsea 2-1 Bournemouth: Morata’s late goal saves Blues from extra-time
Chelsea booked their ticket to the Carabao Cup semi-finals with a narrow 2-1 win over AFC Bournemouth on Wednesday night. Willian’s first-half goal was thought to have sealed the deal for the hosts, but Dan Gosling’s injury-time equalizer shocked the Blues fans as the game was closing in on extra-time. Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata had other plans though, as the two star attackers orchestrated a winning goal just 40 seconds after the Cherries’ late equalizer.
Antonio Conte rotated his team quite heavily in the clash, as key players Hazard, Morata, N’Golo Kante and Thibaut Courtois were all benched at the kick-off. Meanwhile youngsters Kenedy, Ethan Ampadu and fringe players such as Michy Batshuayi, Willy Caballero and Antonio Rudiger were given their starts tonight.
The game began with a bang, as Ampadu sent Bournemouth’s star striker Jermaine Defoe to the bench with a rought sliding tackle after just five minutes of play. The fans loved seeing their own 17-year-old academy starlet take on an experienced Premier League striker like that, but a brilliant opening goal pleased the supporters even more.
Chelsea opened the scoring after 13 minutes of play, as a spectacular team move led its way to an easy tap-in goal for Willian. Cesc Fabregas worked the ball nicely with Kenedy before cutting the ball back to the back post, where Willian made no mistake to score his sixth goal of the season.
The remainder of the half went on in Chelsea’s possession, with Bournemouth putting surprisingly little effort on finding an equalizer. Jordon Ibe went close for the visitors, but they were lucky not to have conceded another as Gary Cahill and Michy Batshuayi weren’t far from a goal either.
The second half began in whole other level, as Chelsea were no longer comfortably in control of the game. Eddie Howe was successful with his half-time team-talk, as Bournemouth were putting strong pressure on the Blues.
The Chelsea defence held on, with Ampadu and Antonio Rudiger playing an excellent game at the back, but Antonio Conte took no chances and decided to bring on the ‘bigger guns’. He was aiming for a second goal, as Hazard and Tiemoue Bakayoko replaced Willian and Pedro on the hour mark, with Batshuayi coming off for Morata some minutes later.
— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) December 20, 2017
Luckily for Chelsea and Caballero, the Cherries were firing high and wide as chances kept falling for them. But as the game entered the four additional minutes, Chelsea’s clean-sheet was gone – as was their lead.
Bournemouth’s centre midfielder Dan Gosling struck a powerful shot to the top corner of the net right in front of the visiting fans, but it wasn’t time for celebrations just yet. Right from the kick-off, Chelsea played the ball upward towards Morata, who dummied the defender before receiving a lovely back-heel pass from Hazard for a quick first-time finish to take Chelsea back in-front just 40 seconds after conceding at the other end.
Bournemouth players and fans were heartbroken, but the Bridge didn’t mind as jubilant celebrations began when the referee blew his whistle for full-time soon after Morata’s goal. The game had it all; late goals, super subs, joy, tears, basically everything you’d expect from a Carabao Cup quarter-final, and Chelsea came on top as winners.
Morata’s goal had consequenses though, as he was booked for his celebrations and will now be receiving a one-match ban for his fifth yellow card in all domestic competitions. That means he’s suspended for our upcoming visit to Goodison Park this Saturday.
The semi-finals of the Carabao Cup will be played in January, with Chelsea set to face Arsenal. Manchester City on the other hand play Championship side Bristol City.