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Monday, November 28, 2022

Middlesbrough 0-2 Chelsea: Romelu Lukaku and Hakim Ziyech send Blues back to Wembley

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helsea booked their place in the FA Cup semi-finals with a relatively comfortable 2-0 win over Middlesbrough at the Riverside.

The Championship had knocked out Manchester United and Tottenham to reach the last eight, but Chelsea never really looked like being added to that giant killing list.

Romelu Lukaku put the Blues in front with the simplest of finishes, before Hakim Ziyech doubled the lead from distance to put the visitors in complete control in the first-half.

The Middlesbrough fans remained in brilliant voice throughout but their run came to an end, as Chelsea secured another Wembley appearances just a few weeks after they beaten in the Carabao Cup final by Liverpool.

Thomas Tuchel’s side started brightly at the Riverside and very nearly took the lead after just a couple of minutes as Mason Mount fired a great ball across the face of goal, with Christian Pulisic unable to make up the ground at the back post.

The goal did come for the visitors after 15 minutes, in very similar circumstances. Ziyech set Mount away down the right wing, he squared it to Lukaku and the Belgian couldn’t miss from a few yards out.

Middlesbrough enjoyed their best spell of the match as they looked to respond, Isaiah Jones causing real problems and Matt Crooks looking to make runs beyond the strikers from midfield.

But Chelsea were ruthless and killed the home side’s momentum on the half hour mark. The Blues played their way round Middlesbrough’s press and had a huge amount of space to break into. Mount played it wide to Ziyech, who was allowed to cut inside and drill an effort past Joe Lumley into the far corner.

There was little from an attacking perspective for much of the second-half from Chelsea, though they remained in control of the match with plenty of comfortable possession.

The high-press from Middlesbrough continued and they robbed Christian Pulisic on the edge of his own box, but Duncan Watmore couldn’t take advantage as he curled an effort over the bar.

Timo Werner was introduced and very nearly extended the Chelsea lead, only to find Sol Bamba in his way as the centre-back produced a brilliant sliding block to deny the German.

It didn’t matter though, as no late Middlesbrough comeback materialised and Tuchel’s incredible record in knockout competitions since he arrived in England continues.

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