FA Cup fifth-round
Wolves 0-2 Chelsea
Pedro and Diego Costa were on target as Chelsea ended Wolves’ FA Cup run at Molineux.
On a day of shocks, Wolves – conquerors of Stoke and Liverpool – were beaten 2-0 in the fifth round tie.
Chelsea academy graduate George Saville hit the post after five minutes for Wolves.
And an hour later the hosts’ resilience was punctured when a clinical counter-attack concluded with Pedro heading in at the back post.
Diego Costa was outplayed by namesake Helder Costa for much of a contest in which Eden Hazard was a peripheral figure.
But both had a role in Pedro’s goal and Diego Costa struck his 16th of the season late on to send Chelsea, Premier League leaders by eight points, into the quarter-finals.
A double in Antonio Conte’s first season as head coach is still on.
Chelsea drew 1-1 at Burnley last Sunday, but Conte was determined his side would not suffer the same cup fate as the Clarets, beaten earlier in the day by non-League Lincoln.
Wolves had lost their last three Championship games, but a side showing five changes from the one which began the Wigan defeat started well.
With Pedro, one of four players retained in Chelsea’s starting XI, at left wing-back, Wolves thrived down their right.
It was a Jack Price cross from that flank which Kurt Zouma was unable to connect with, allowing the ball to drop for Saville.
Ten yards out and with the goal gaping, Saville sliced the ball against the left-hand post.
Cesc Fabregas repeatedly tried to play in team-mates behind the Wolves defence. Willian latched on to one pass – but Wolves goalkeeper Carl Ikeme did well to spread himself and deny the Brazilian.
Andreas Weimann wanted a penalty after bouncing off Willian’s shoulder. The appeal was dismissed.
Helder Costa fired at Asmir Begovic after some trickery down the right and then Matt Doherty crossed from the left, but no one in a Wolves shirt was able to meet the ball.
Diego Costa did meet a Victor Moses cross soon afterwards, but his back was to goal and he could only direct the ball over.
Wolves were creating problems for Chelsea, who were struggling to fashion chances.
Diego Costa fired into the side-netting after finally evading his marker and creating a shooting opportunity. The chance came 17 minutes into the second half.
Chelsea have been devastating on the counter attack this season and proved to be once again.
Fabregas played in Diego Costa in the right channel. The striker found Hazard, who laid the ball off for Willian to tee the ball up for Pedro to head in at the back post.
Pedro, on a yellow card for a foul on Helder Costa, made way for Cesar Azpilicueta soon afterwards.
Chelsea also sent on N’Golo Kante and the defensive reinforcements made life more difficult for Wolves.
The visitors had another opportunity on the break. Hazard found Fabregas, but his shot deflected wide.
A second goal soon followed, though.
Kante and Fabregas combined on the edge of the Wolves box and the ball broke off Doherty. Unfortunately for him it fell for Costa to sweep the ball in.
Today’s FA Cup results:
- Burnley 0-1 Lincoln
- Huddersfield Town 0-0 Manchester City
- Middlesbrough 3-2 Oxford United
- Millwall 1-0 Leicester City