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MOTD: Everton 2-0 Chelsea
Romelu Lukaku scored an exceptional brace against his old side Chelsea in a 2-0 FA Cup win at Goodison Park. The Belgian front man notched two late goals within five minutes to bury the Blues in a slow pot-boiler that ended with both sides reduced to ten men. The win takes Everton into the final four of the cup.
In stark contrast to Lukaku’s performance, Diego Costa was left frustrated and lashed out at the end of a feisty affair, butting heads with Gareth Barry. Costa saw his second yellow card of the match for his part in the altercation, while Barry picked up a yellow and would later see red as well for a poorly timed challenge. It was the first red card Costa has been given in a Chelsea shirt and incriminating video evidence also revealed that Costa potentially bit Barry, although the Englishman didn’t overtly react and Everton are unlikely to press charges.
“Gareth has said it is nothing to worry about. The last thing I am going to do on a day like this is to see if an opposing player has bitten my player,” said Everton manager Roberto Martinez, per The Guardian. “It was not a key moment, it did not have an impact on the result or the scoreline, it came after both the goals had been scored.”
Nevertheless, it certainly warrants further investigation from the FA.
“He was chased a bit in the game,” Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink said of his front man, via the BBC. “Everton did not do anything outside the rules but they went after him. Initially I was not sure whether to play him in this game after he picked up an injury last time, but he desperately wanted to play. With hindsight it might have been better to leave him out, but it was a cup tie, not the sort of game in which you want to rest your best players.”
The result was another blow to Chelsea’s season, having been knocked out of the Champions League last Wednesday.
Despite their plethora of injuries, they managed to field a decent team. Eden Hazard was sidelined, but Costa’s energy was restored after picking up a knock in the Champions League. He came bursting out of the gates, even taking his gloves off early in the first half.
Yet there wasn’t much in the way of chances in the first half, with Kenedy firing over from the right. Joel Robles tipped Willian’s lovely free-kick just over the crossbar on the brink of the half and at the other end of the pitch? Tom Clevery fired Everton’s first shot on target.
Although Everton’s conviction up front dramatically improved in the second half, the tempo was somewhat lacking. Ramiro Funes Mori headed Cleverly’s corner over the crossbar and Costa pulled a low effort wide, but the opportunities were only mediocre and the finishes somewhat less.
Lukaku’s two goals stood out in an otherwise disappointing affair, with the forward bursting in from the left to beat Thibaut Courtois at his near post and then tucking Barkley’s through ball into the back of the net with a delicate, precise finish five minutes later. With eight minutes to go, frustration got the better of Costa and a fatigued Barry put in a sloppy, heavy tackle late on to even out the team-sheets. Yet the spotlight remains on Costa for all the wrong reasons.
Photo credit: @cfcunofficial, via Flickr