Eden Hazard’s late winner takes Chelsea through against Bournemouth

first_imgChelsea must have hoped they could force passage into the semi-finals without having to call upon Eden Hazard, granting those battered and bruised ankles a midweek rest, but at present everything they do seems dependent upon their brilliant Belgian. This had become a slog of a tie, a contest which was threatening to run aground on a penalty shootout, until Hazard made his decisive intervention.Bournemouth, resolute and slippery on the counter, dropped their guard for only a split-second, but that was all it took. The Belgium captain had slipped Pedro into the clutter near the byline six minutes from time but, while visiting defenders swarmed towards the Spaniard and Emerson Palmieri at his back, Hazard was permitted to dart unchecked into the box in anticipation of a return pass. The ball squirted messily back towards him, Nathan Aké sensing the threat too late, and the shot was spat away first-time. Share on Twitter Share on Pinterest The carrot was a first major semi-final in their history. A seventh defeat in eight matches ended up feeling brutal. David Brooks relished a central berth while Lys Mousset and Jordon Ibe – both relatively underused in the top-flight – unsettled markers whenever they were offered the chance to spring forward on the break. It took a fine save from Kepa Arrizabalaga, offered a rare chance in this competition with Willy Caballero shivering on the bench, to deny Mousset as half-time approached, while Callum Wilson also missed a presentable opportunity having been supplied by the Frenchman’s pass.The England striker has been courted rather publicly – and uncharacteristically – by Chelsea in recent days, though it seems unlikely they will be able to prise him away from the south coast mid-season. “Callum’s our player, and very focused on us,” said Howe. “You could see that tonight, and he gave everything for the team.” Could he envisage any scenario whereby the forward would depart in January? “Not from my perspective, no.”How they must have craved the ball ricocheting to Wilson or the substitute Jermain Defoe in the penalty area deep in stoppage time as Chelsea heaved to retain their slender advantage. “We had our moments but we couldn’t quite get that one to score,” added the Bournemouth manager. That opportunity had fallen to the best player on the pitch. Hazard took it, his talismanic status retained. Bournemouth “I have no doubts that our supporters will respond to it in a proper way,” said the assistant first-team coach, Gianfranco Zola. “We have fantastic supporters and I’m sure they’ll be supporting respectfully and in the Chelsea way. But we are looking forward to this game because recently they gave us a good footballing lesson. There are a lot of proud players in our team. Of course they will want to play this game and show their real side. Too many players underplayed last month. Some of them were hurt. They will be looking forward to it, and really pleased we play against them. I can’t wait.”They will need to be more incisive and cohesive than this, and less reliant upon Hazard’s intervention, if they are to prevail and give Maurizio Sarri an early opportunity to break his trophy duck. Bournemouth had weathered a frantic opening, the hosts driven forward by the excellent Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s power and energy, and arguably carved out the better opportunities once they had found some rhythm of their own. Thank you for your feedback. Chelsea chairman hits out at ‘mindless’ fans and vows to rid club of discrimination Share on WhatsApp Quick guide Carabao Cup semi-final draw Topics The ball took a cruel deflection off Charlie Daniels’ arm, Hazard tumbling over the prone Steve Cook on the edge of the six-yard box as the ball looped beyond the wrongfooted Artur Boruc. It was Hazard’s seventh goal against Bournemouth and it thrust Chelsea into a last-four collision with Tottenham. “He seems to have this habit of scoring against us,” said Eddie Howe, who had spoken to the substitute as he waited to enter the fray on the hour, perhaps pleading with him to show mercy. “He has such good feet in tight areas, a quality player, so not a bad sub to bring on.”Emerson and Olivier Giroud, supplied by Hazard again, should have added to the tally in what time remained only to be denied by Boruc’s smart interventions. Chelsea will have a point to prove against Spurs in the semi-finals next month given the thrashing endured at Wembley last month, and the occasion will also draw focus to the conduct of supporters.Chelsea, whose fans are being investigated by the Metropolitan police and Uefa after recent incidents, are proactively seeking to deal with the alleged antisemitic chants that have blighted games of late and are attached to their rivalry with Tottenham. The open letter published by the chairman, Bruce Buck, on Tuesday had stressed the hierarchy would not rest “until we have eliminated all forms of discrimination from our club”. This draw will be an early test of that. Chelsea Tottenham v Chelsea Manchester City v Burton AlbionTwo -legged ties to be played in weeks beginning 7 Jan and 21 Jan Share via Email Carabao Cup Was this helpful? Hide match reports Show Read more Share on LinkedIn Share on Facebook Tottenham’s Son and Alli gallop clear to trip up Arsenal in Carabao Cup Read more Share on Messenger Reuse this contentlast_img

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