Sturridge is late hero for Chelsea
Everton 1 Chelsea 2 (aet)
Thursday 27 October 2011
It was not quite Jose Mourinho's dash down the Old Trafford touchline but Andre Villas-Boas's celebrations at the final whistle were expansive. He punched the air, a few feet from where his counterpart David Moyes was standing, and then dashed on to the Goodison turf. You never imagined a place in the quarter-finals of the Carling Cup meant so much at Stamford Bridge.
It was a hard-fought night and not much of an evening for goalkeepers or penalty-takers. Chelsea's Ross Turnbull was dismissed while Everton's Jan Mucha was responsible for the kind of error that made you realise why Fabien Barthez would reach for a pack of Gitanes while playing for France or Manchester United.
Both sides squandered a penalty and when Royston Drenthe was shown a second yellow card for a late tackle on Ryan Bertrand in extra time, it turned the tie.
Until then Moyes had thought the very worst Everton might take from the night was a penalty shoot-out but Chelsea, reinvigorated, snatched their advantage. Nicolas Anelka struck the post and when Mucha parried Florent Malouda's shot, Daniel Sturridge drove it home.
Turnbull was playing in a jersey whose colour was officially given as "slime". The colour the Teessider would remember from this night is red. Louis Saha had worked Turnbull hard in the first half and early in the second, he wriggled through Chelsea's defensive screen and was brought down by the man in slime. It was a nakedly obvious penalty and Chelsea's third red card in four days. In contrast to Sunday's debacle at Queen's Park Rangers, Villas-Boas smiled that "this time" he had no complaints about the refereeing.
Most would argue that the forced introduction of Petr Cech strengthened Chelsea and although Leighton Baines – in contrast to Anelka's vacuous effort in the first half – struck his spot-kick hard, Cech saved it. He also blocked Baines's second attempt from the rebound but he could do little about Saha's low stooping header six minutes from the scheduled end, which sent the contest into extra time. Had Drenthe aimed a vicious free-kick fractionally lower, that would not have been required.
John Terry and nine others were absent from the Chelsea side that began Sunday's disastrous and ultimately poisonous game at Loftus Road. Terry was spared the journey to Merseyside, not because he was attempting to avoid the fall-out from the alleged racist abuse directed at Anton Ferdinand but, more prosaically, because he is one booking away from suspension and Chelsea face Arsenal on Saturday.
Aside from their goalkeeper, Everton were pretty much at full strength, although given what happened seven minutes from the interval, Moyes might have wished he had not given Tim Howard the night off. The shot from Malouda was a relatively harmless-looking chip which Mucha got both gloves to. Somehow, the ball squirmed through his hands and into the net. Goodison was tense with the sound of suppressed laughter and desperate embarrassment for the Slovak, whose last run in the Carling Cup had ended with defeat at Brentford.
Everton (4-4-1-1): Mucha; Neville (Hibbert, 46), Heitinga, Distin, Baines; Drenthe, Rodwell (Stracqualursi, 78), Fellaini, Bilyaletdinov (Coleman, 81); Cahill; Saha. Substitutes not used Hahnemann (gk), Barkley, Osman, Vellios.
Chelsea (4-3-1-2): Turnbull; Ivanovic, Alex, Luiz, Betrand; Romeu McEachran (Mikel, 64), Kalou (Sturridge, 85); Malouda; Anelka, Lukaku (Cech, 60). Substitutes not used Lampard, Torres, Mata, Ferreira.
Referee L Mason (Northamptonshire).
Carling Cup last eight
Arsenal, Blackburn Rovers, Cardiff City, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United.
Draw to be made on Saturday; Ties to take place 29/30 November
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
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