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Palmer stars as Chelsea survive Leicester scare to book place in FA Cup semi-finals

Chelsea midfielder Carney Chukwuemeka (R) shoots to score their third goal past Leicester City goalkeeper Jakub Stolarczyk
Chelsea midfielder Carney Chukwuemeka (R) shoots to score their third goal past Leicester City goalkeeper Jakub StolarczykAFP
Carney Chukwuemeka’s late goal helped Chelsea register an eighth head-to-head victory from the last nine meetings in the FA Cup, taking their place in the semi-finals following a 4-2 win over Leicester City.

In a rematch of the 2021 final, Chelsea – the losers on that day – began assertively in front of a bumper crowd at Stamford Bridge, and were rewarded for their positive start with the game’s opening goal after 13 minutes.

Nicholas Jackson’s devastating burst of pace down the right-hand side left Jannik Vestergaard staring at the back of his boots, allowing the Colombian striker to produce a delicious cross for an unmarked Marc Cucurella to tap in at the back post.

Things nearly went from bad to worse for the visitors shortly before the half-hour mark, as Abdul Fatawu left Andy Madley with no choice but to award a penalty after he bundled down Raheem Sterling while he was preparing to shoot.

However, Jakub Stolarczyk spared his teammate’s blushes as he guessed the right direction to keep out Sterling’s resultant spot-kick.

The Foxes’ cup goalkeeper was then called into action again not long after when he had his palms stung by a fierce strike from the boot of Mykhailo Mudryk.

With half time on the horizon, Sterling missed a gilt-edged opportunity to double his side’s lead as he somehow fired his one-on-one effort wide.

Match stats
Match statsFlashscore

However, the former England international redeemed himself less than 60 seconds later as he put the ball on a plate for the fast-arriving Cole Palmer – who had not forgotten his shooting boots – to fire past Stolarczyk from close range.

On course to be on the losing side in six of the last seven quarter-final appearances, Leicester were gifted a fortuitous way back into the game in the 51st minute as Axel Disasi’s misdirected back-pass flew into the back of the net with Robert Snchez standing on the other side of his area.

Unbelievably, the Foxes got themselves back on level terms in stunning fashion not long after the hour mark, with Stephy Mavididi striking a sublime curling effort into the corner of the net that left Sanchez with no chance.

Leicester’s hopes of completing the turnaround were then dealt a significant blow as VAR intervened to recommend Callum Doyle’s initial yellow card be overturned into a red for a cynical last-man foul on Jackson.

Ultimately, Chelsea were able to make their numerical advantage pay in stoppage time, as Palmer’s exquisite backheel put the ball on a plate for substitute Chukwuemeka to fire through the legs of Stolarczyk before Noni Madueke’s screamer from distance made sure of the result for Pochettino’s men.

Chelsea won’t have to wait long to find out their opponents in the semi-finals with the draw scheduled to be made immediately after the conclusion of the Manchester United vs Liverpool game later this afternoon.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Cole Palmer (Chelsea)

Catch up on the match summary with Flashscore.

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