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Pedro’s header puts Chelsea FC in FA Cup semi-final

Pedro headed in a cross by former Leicester City midfielder N’Golo Kante to put put Chelsea FC into the FA Cup semi-final with a 2-1 win away to Leicester City after extra time on Sunday.

football Updated: Mar 19, 2018 09:01 IST
Reuters
Reuters
Reuters, London
Pedro,Chelsea FC,FA Cup
Pedro headed in a cross by former Leicester City midfielder N’Golo Kante to put put Chelsea FC into the FA Cup semi-final with a 2-1 win away to Leicester City after extra time on Sunday. (REUTERS)

A goal by substitute Pedro put Chelsea FC into the FA Cup semi-final with a 2-1 win away to Leicester City after extra time on Sunday.

Earlier the home team’s England international Jamie Vardy had equalised following Alvaro Morata’s first goal of 2018.

With no replays from the quarter-finals onwards, 30 extra minutes were required, in which Pedro headed in a cross by former Leicester midfielder N’Golo Kante.

Manager Antonio Conte, knowing this is his last chance of a trophy this season, must hope the victory is an omen. The previous three times Chelsea have knocked Leicester out, in 1997, 2000 and 2012, they won the competition.

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In the semi-final at Wembley they will face Southampton, the lowest placed of the four teams left.

Morata finished well to open the scoring just before halftime after Riyad Mahrez lost possession and Willian instigated a swift counter-attack and played the striker in with a perfect through pass.

Left out of Spain’s squad for two forthcoming friendlies after a run of poor form, the $81 million signing from Real Madrid had not been on the score-sheet since 26 December.

In contrast it was Vardy’s seventh goal in nine games in all competitions. After a spell of pressure, Mahrez put in a low cross and although Vicente Iborra was twice denied by blocks, Vardy clipped home the loose ball.

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Chelsea could have repeated their goal when Willian put Morata through again, Kasper Schmeichel bringing off a double save.

In extra time, substitute Pedro missed for Chelsea but made amends when the Leicester goalkeeper was caught in no-man’s land.

“Leicester caused us lots of problems but I think we did very well,” said man-of-the-match Kante.

“It was important for us, it’s the only title we can have this season and now we have to keep going.”

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The win ended a run of five away matches without success and Conte’s team will now be favourites to reach another FA Cup final.

Losing the final to London rivals Arsenal last season cost them a Premier League and FA Cup double but they have won the trophy seven times, the last four of them between 2007 and 2012.

Leicester manager Claude Puel felt his team deserved better and declined to blame Schmeichel.

“I can’t say anything wrong about him - he’s a fantastic keeper,” he told the BBC.

First Published: Mar 19, 2018 08:28 IST