CHELSEA booked their place in the FA Cup quarterfinals after a comfortable 5-1 victory at home to Manchester City. City boss Manuel Pellegrini fielded a second-string team at Stamford Bridge amid concerns over fixture congestion and paid the price as his side were comprehensively defeated. Diego Costa broke the deadlock on 35 minutes only for David Faupala, one of five full debutants in City’s starting lineup, to instantly hit back.
Although the first half ended 1-1, Chelsea swiftly seized control in the second.
Three minutes after the break, Willian collected a Hazard through ball just right of the six-yard box before powering low into Willy Caballero’s far corner.
Five minutes later, Cahill pounced on a deflected Hazard cross and fired his shot underneath Caballero, who could only get a touch on the defender’s well-struck shot.
Hazard then joined the party in the 67th. Capitalising on a Martin Demichelis foul on the Belgian just outside the 18-yard box, the Chelsea No. 10 curled the resulting free kick into the far corner.
Oscar passed up the chance to extend their lead from the penalty spot when his effort was saved by Caballero, but Bertrand Traore’s looping header in the 89th minute found its way into the net to complete the rout.
Crystal Palace ended Tottenham’s hopes of the treble with an unexpected 1-0 win at White Hart Lane.
An unlikely goal on a rare start for Martin Kelly, coupled with a vastly improved overall performance, proved enough to secure a victory that will lift the mood that had been settling at Palace and inflict a rare disappointing note on Spurs so-far promising season.
West Ham’s talisman Dimitri Payet was the inspiration as they secured a place in their first FA Cup quarterfinal for five years with a comfortable 5-1 win at Blackburn.
Rovers, who played the last 35 minutes with 10 men after Chris Taylor’s sending-off, had led through free-scoring right-back Ben Marshall but never looked like threatening a shock.
Victor Moses’ first goal since September 19 was followed by an exquisite Payet free kick and two second-half goals for Emmanuel Emenike before Payet fittingly finished things off with a brilliant individual effort. — ESPN