Didier Drogba and Alex fired Chelsea into the semifinal of the FA Cup in a 2-0 victory at Coventry on Saturday. Guus Hiddink's team shook off the negative publicity that followed Ashley Cole's arrest and drunken behavior in a nightclub on Thursday and outplayed the second-tier Sky Blues with a goal in each half at the Ricoh Arena.
Hiddink criticized the leftback for his behavior but still started the England star in the cup game. After shaving the post with a left-foot shot, Drogba gave Chelsea a 15th-minute lead by punishing some woeful Coventry defending. A poor back header by Scott Dann put teammate Ben Turner under pressure. Drogba won the ball from the defender, shrugged him off, took the ball around goalkeeper Keiran Westwood and fired the ball from an acute angle inside the near post with his left foot. Westwood tipped a free kick from Frank Lampard over the bar and Coventry threatened when Leon Best fought off both Alex and John Terry only to fire tamely over the top.
Michael Essien was back in the Chelsea squad after being absent for six months because of a serious knee injury, and went on in the 65th minute for John Obi Mikel.
Chelsea's second in the 72nd minute was a breakaway after the Blues cleared a long throw during a spell of rare Coventry pressure. Defender Alex charged upfield to arrive unmarked and meet a cross from Ricardo Quaresma with a simple tap-in.
Manchester United, the record 11-time FA Cup winner, went to Fulham in Saturday's other quarterfinal, which kicked off later. On Sunday, Everton hosts Middlesbrough for a place in the semifinal while Arsenal welcomes second-tier Burnley in a fifth-round game. The only Premier League game of the weekend between Sunderland and Tottenham kicked off later Saturday.