Friday 23 March 2018

Ten-man Blues advance in shoot-out drama

Chelsea 0
Fulham 0
(Chelsea win 4-3 on pens aet)

Jason Burt

Chelsea knocked Fulham out of the League Cup last night in the most dramatic of circumstances, with the final kick of a penalty shoot-out, from Fulham's Bryan Ruiz, coming back off the crossbar and landing on the goal-line.

The contest went to penalties after a goalless 90 minutes and 30 minutes of extra-time, with Chelsea having played for more than an hour with 10 men after Alex was sent off.

Fulham missed a penalty just after half-time, when Pajtim Kasami's effort hit the crossbar after Alex had brought down Kerim Frei and been sent off.

Steve Sidwell wasted the best chance in extra-time as he volleyed over, but Chelsea were on top.

Chelsea started well, with Daniel Sturridge firing into the side-netting, but Fulham's new signing Ruiz provided two wonderful opportunities for his strike partner Orlando Sa that were spurned.

Back came Chelsea. Florent Malouda found the side-netting, Romelu Lukaku's flick was blocked and Sturridge had a goal ruled out for offside after a fine run and shot by the impressive Josh McEachran. Sturridge was injured, under Stephen Kelly's challenge, as he turned the ball into the net and limped off to be replaced by Frank Lampard. Petr Cech also appeared to be injured and was replaced at half-time by Ross Turnbull.

Soon after Salomon Kalou should have opened the scoring, with Lampard feeding him, after a powerful break forward, only for another effort to go just wide.

Immediately Fulham broke, with Ruiz cutting the ball back to Frei, who was brought down by Alex. Red card for the Brazilian, red face for Kasami, who missed his penalty.

Chelsea were reeling and Fulham sensed a famous victory.

After Moussa Dembele was brought down, a Chris Baird shot was deflected back to the substitute, whose drive was turned away by Turnbull. The 'keeper then brilliantly flicked over an effort from Kasami.

Chelsea found a second wind and David Luiz forced a save from Mark Schwarzer.

So to penalties. Lampard missed, but so did Dembele, and then came Ruiz's crucial miss after Malouda's successful effort. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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