FAC: Chelsea 4-1 Cardiff City
Holders Chelsea reached the FA Cup quarter-finals after they saw
off Cardiff 4-1 despite a brief scare at Stamford Bridge on
Didier Drogba put Chelsea in front in the second minute but
Michael Chopra stunned the home side with an equaliser before
Second-half goals from Michael Ballack, Daniel Sturridge and
substitute Salomon Kalou put Carlo Ancelotti’s side into the last
Chelsea got off to a great start when John Obi Mikel’s long
ball put Drogba in the clear and the Ivory Coast striker ran on to
fire past the static David Marshall.
It was Drogba’s fourth goal in three games since his return
from the African Nations Cup and his 23rd of the season.
Cardiff almost equalised when Peter Whittingham’s free-kick
was sent towards the top corner by Anthony Gerrard.
But with City ready to celebrate an equaliser, Hilario
somehow managed to get across and tip the ball over the bar.
In the 25th minute, Drogba was unlucky with an overhead kick
from six yards when a cross from Michael Ballack had found him
ahead of his marker.
Fortunately for Marshall in the City goal, Drogba’s effort
went straight to him.
Chelsea remained in control of the game with Cardiff
restricted to rare counter-attacks.
But one of them paid off in stunning fashion in the 34th
minute when they equalised through Chopra.
The Cardiff striker shocked the home side with his 17th goal
of the season.
Chopra got clear of Alex to head Chris Burke’s cross into the
net beyond the helpless Hilario, to the delight of the 6,000
travelling City fans.
The Cardiff equaliser had certainly livened the game up but
Chelsea gradually managed to get on top once more.
Sturridge, who has scored in the last two rounds, was a yard
wide with a 25-yard shot in the 43rd minute.
Chelsea’s passing began to go astray as the half wore on and
Cardiff were able to end the first half on level terms.
Chelsea replaced the ineffective Joe Cole with Kalou at
Drogba, the only Chelsea player really on his game, found
Marshall alert when he tried to send a 25-yard free-kick inside the
near post just seconds after the restart.
But Chelsea were back in front in the 51st minute when
Drogba’s pass evaded Mark Kennedy to put Michael Ballack through on
goal. The Germany captain kept his cool to volley the ball over
Marshall and make it 2-1.
Chelsea defender Alex was unlucky to see a header cleared by
the Cardiff rearguard on the hour as the home side pressed for a
The home side were again in control with Drogba at the heart
of all their best moves.
The Ivory Coast striker was unlucky not to get on the end of
a through-ball from Paulo Ferreira while Sturridge shot well wide
from 20 yards in the 67th minute.
Chelsea finally got a third in the 69th minute when a scrappy
build-up allowed the ball to run loose to Sturridge, who slipped it
It was his fourth goal in the competition – and his last
contribution before being replaced by Florent Malouda.
Cardiff continued to make sporadic forays into the Chelsea
half and on one such attack, Kevin McNaughton was a yard wide with
a 20-yard angled drive.
Whittingham then brought a fine save out of Hilario with a
low drive from 25 yards as Chelsea rested on their two-goal lead.
However, Kalou made it 4-1 in the 86th minute when he
superbly headed home a cross from Ferreira.
The Ivory Coast striker twisted his body in mid-air to send
the header over Marshall’s reach and into the top corner of the
Malouda was way off target in the 90th minute when he tried
his luck from the edge of the penalty area – but Chelsea had done
enough to go through to the last eight.