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Chelsea Stay On Track For Double


(ESPNFC.COM) Chelsea remain on track for a Premier League and FA Cup double, although they had far from their own way against a bold Wolves side at Molineux. A header by Pedro midway through the second half and a sharp late finish by Diego Costa sealed their place in the quarterfinals, but the home side, who had won at Liverpool in the fourth round, were the better team in the first half and the scoreline was harsh.

Buoyed by a capacity crowd at Molineux, the Championship team came out firing and missed a glorious chance to take the lead in the fifth minute. When Conor Coady’s right-sided cross rebounded awkwardly off Kurt Zouma, George Saville had a clear sight of goal 12 yards out. His half-volley beat Asmir Begovic but thudded off the goalkeeper’s left post. It was agonising for the home side, but Saville, who joined Wolves from Chelsea in 2014, had let his old club off the hook.

Wolves were brighter but Willian, seeing his attempted lob blocked by Carl Ikeme from Cesc Fabregas’ pass, almost made them pay within minutes. In terms of clear chances, that was it for the first half. Chelsea probed for periods, but on the whole it was Wolves who looked the more threatening. Had Matt Doherty’s 35th-minute delivery been a couple of centimeters lower, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson would surely have headed them into an interval lead.

Spurred on by the incursions of right winger Helder Costa, Wolves began the second period at a similar speed. But as the game passed the hour mark, Chelsea finally began to assert a measure of control, and Costa, with his first genuine sight of goal, shot into the side netting from an angle after twisting and turning on the right side of the penalty area.

The warning signs were starting to appear, and in the 65th minute, quality told. Willian, allowed a pocket of space just inside the box, chipped over a precise cross and Pedro, completely unmarked after running in from the left, nodded a well-directed header into the bottom corner.

Chelsea’s tails were up. Fabregas began to find his range once more and created openings for Victor Moses and Willian, neither of which brought a convincing shot at goal. Fabregas himself missed a chance to double the lead late on, but Costa, seizing on a loose ball from close range, made no mistake with moments remaining.

 

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