Chelsea comfortably dispatched of Manchester City’s kids to reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup courtesy of a 5-1 victory at Stamford Bridge this afternoon.
An inexperienced City side gave Chelsea a tough time in the first half, and went into the break level as David Faupala cancelled out Diego Costa’s 35th-minute opener.
SEE MORE: Diego Costa goal video: Chelsea opener beautifully assisted by Hazard & Fabregas
But the gulf in class showed in the second period. Willian, Gary Cahill and Eden Hazard scored in the space of 19 minutes, before Bertrand Traore added a late fifth.
Citizens boss Manuel Pellegrini chose to rest the majority of his regulars with Wednesday’s first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with Dynamo Kiev in mind.
Pablo Zabaleta, Fernando, Aleksander Kolarov and Martin Demichelis were the only senior outfield players to start as Pellegrini handed out five full debuts.
Eighteen-year-old centre-back Tosin Adarabioyo, teenage midfielders Manu Garcia, Aleix Garica and Bersant Celina, and striker Faupala all made their City bows.
City’s starlets initially gave an excellent account of themselves. Faupala forged the game’s first chance when he took on two defenders and struck at Thibaut Courtois.
At the other end, Pedro come agonisingly close to the opening goal on 13 minutes when he lifted the ball over Willy Cabellero, only to see it rebound out off the post.
Chelsea strung together an outstanding move to break City’s resolve. Cesc Fabregas dinked a ball over the top for Hazard, who crossed to Costa to convert a simple header.
That goal might have opened the floodgates had it none been for the excellent spirit of the City fledglings, who responded with 90 seconds to go into the break level.
A nice exchange of passes opened up the Chelsea defence, and they got the slice of luck they deserved as Faupala blocked Cesar Azpilicueta’s clearance over the line, as the above video shows.
Pellegrini would have been delighted with how his side coped in first half, but they were out of the game within 10 minutes of the restart after a quickfire Blues double.
Willian exchanged passes with Hazard and finished expertly into the bottom corner, before Cahill struck a sweet volley through the weak attempted save of Cabellero.
SEE MORE: Willian goal video: Brazilian restores Chelsea lead as hosts brilliantly open up Man City
Cabellero was also at fault for Chelsea’s fourth on 67 minutes. Hazard’s free kick found the bottom corner, but the City goalkeeper was horrifically out of position, as the below video shows.
Pellegrini may have been having second thoughts over Cabellero’s place in his XI for next weekend’s Capital One Cup final when he made an impressive penalty save.
It was again one of City’s experienced heads which let them down. Demichelis barged over Traore. Oscar’s nonchalant spot kick was palmed to safety by Cabellero.
The scoring was not done though. Traore made it five with a looping header two minutes from time. Fingers will again be pointed at Cabellero’s effort to keep it out.
Chelsea remain unbeaten in six FA Cup games under Guus Hiddink. Pellegrini’s team selection will be vindicated with massive cup wins at home and abroad next week.
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