Chelsea fight back to beat 10-man Leicester

Chelsea’s Cesc Fabregas celebrates after scoring against Leicester at the King Power Stadium  last night. Chelsea won 4-2. PHOTO:EPA

Cesc Fabregas scored twice in extra time as Chelsea came from two goals down to beat 10-man Leicester and reach the EFL Cup fourth round.

Shinji Okazaki’s header and instinctive strike put Leicester in control, but Gary Cahill nodded in before the break to reduce the deficit.

Cesar Azpilicueta then equalised with a long-range strike before Foxes defender Marcin Wasilewski was sent off.

Fabregas’ clipped finish put Chelsea ahead early in the first extra period and his powerful strike two minutes later sealed the win.

It had been a pulsating cup tie – particularly in the second half – with chances at both ends but Wasilewski’s dismissal for elbowing Diego Costa ultimately proved costly.

Chelsea deserved the win in the end but Claudio Ranieri will perhaps be buoyed by his side’s performance for much of the game, with glimpses of their incisive attacking and compact defending that helped them win the title last season on show.

Chelsea have scored in every game this season and their attacking strength came to the fore towards the end of the game.

However, their defensive frailties should continue to be a cause for concern for boss Antonio Conte.

Only once in their previous 14 games in all competitions have the Blues managed to keep a clean sheet – and they were needlessly exposed in the first half at the King Power stadium.

Azpilicueta’s awkward touch when trying to deal with Ahmed Musa’s cross allowed Ozaki to nip in and flick a header over Asmir Begovic, and the Foxes forward then profited from a static backline to score a second.

“Chelsea’s decision-making when under pressure was poor,” pundit and former Leicester defender Gerry Taggart observed.

“We are talking about basics. Clear the ball first, then ask questions. Some of Chelsea’s decision making was abysmal,” he added.

Foxes boss Ranieri said he was satisfied with the performance of his team only cursing the mistake that allowed Cahill to score in the first half.

“The key was when we conceded a goal on the last corner of the half, we lost two dangerous men, Luiz and Cahill. In extra time I said stay together and close the space, but Fabregas scored and it was very difficult for us,” he said.

The match was a big morale booster for Chelsea hero Cesc Fabregas who has been unable to establish himself under Conte, with the Spanish midfielder restricted to appearances from the bench in the Premier League so far this season.

His only two starts for the Italian have come in the EFL Cup – but he was arguably the stand out player for the Blues in this game.

The 29-year-old has been criticised for a lack of goals in the past – he scored six last season and five the campaign before – but took both his finishes well against the Foxes and also provided the assist for Cahill’s goal.

“I want to win and my choice is done to win. I don’t care what their name is. For me it’s important when I call someone to play and they show me my choice is not wrong,” Contes said after the match before adding; “I am pleased for Cesc because he played a good game, he showed me great commitment in the training sessions. I am satisfied when I see this behavior.”

 

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