x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Carlo Ancelotti's Chelsea pay the penalty for lack of goals up front

Chelsea's misfiring strike force cost them again as Ashley Cole's penalty shootout miss saw Everton dump them out of the FA Cup.

Everton celebrate after Phil Neville scores the winning penalty in a shoot-out during their FA Cup match against Chelsea. Richard Heathcote / Getty Images
Everton celebrate after Phil Neville scores the winning penalty in a shoot-out during their FA Cup match against Chelsea. Richard Heathcote / Getty Images

LONDON // A British transfer record invested in a new striker, yet Roman Abramovich's side cannot score in 270 minutes of normal play. When an extra-time goal finally went in - from that old reliable Frank Lampard - a defender handed over a soft free kick for Everton to equalise.

Ten minutes later the FA Cup slipped from Chelsea's grasp as Ashley Cole performed a left-footed re-enactment of that most painful night in Moscow, when the Londoners lost on penalties to Manchester United in the 2008 Champions League final. Fernando Torres was cup-tied yesterday and the holders' first FA Cup defeat since 2008 was made all the more hurtful by its manner. They surrendered the lead on a final-minute set piece by Leighton Baines, then threw away an advantage in the shoot-out.

"We were unlucky," said an increasingly embattled Carlo Ancelotti. "For us the FA Cup was important. We wanted to repeat this competition but now we have to look forward. It was fantastic last year to win the double and this year until now I think we didn't do our best. We have to try to do better in the next month."

The initial stages were disjointed, Chelsea spurning the only good chance when Phil Jagielka headed against his own post and John Terry looped the rebound over.

Tim Howard was left at the mercy of a linesman as Ramires drew him into a reckless dive across the area.

Cleverly, the Brazilian edged the ball away from Howard as the goalkeeper slid into the clear. Less intelligently, he went to ground before Howard made contact. Ramires received a yellow card and Stamford Bridge red. "I think that was a penalty," Ancelotti said.

If Chelsea's second-half creativity improved, their finishing did not. Lampard sent a snap header wide then forced a fine close-range save.

Chelsea were now dominant but with the 90 minutes all but up, the linesman who had penalised Ramires kept them in the cup by declaring Marouane Fellaini offside as he turned in the spillage from a fine Baines drive. The decision was marginal.

That became more relevant once Chelsea finally found a way to goal. After Terry had been awarded a soft free kick, Nicolas Anelka's fresh legs - he came off the bench for extra time - dispensed with two Everton markers, his cross bounced off Didier Drogba, and Lampard netted from six yards.

The game seemed over but Branislav Ivanovic's stupidity offered Everton a route back, when he barged over Jagielka three yards from the edge of the area.

"Maybe he could have paid more attention in that situation," Ancelotti said. Baines curled a divine left-footer into Petr Cech's top corner.

Having saved Chelsea from Fulham's last-minute penalty on Monday, Cech expertly parried Baines's first spot-kick and all looked fine for the holders until Anelka's weak effort was pushed away by Howard. Mikel Arteta and Johnny Heitinga converted before Cole approached Chelsea's fifth.

Just as Terry had missed in Moscow with a strike scooped slightly high and wide, so Cole produced a mirror image at Stamford Bridge, his first penalty miss in nine years.

Phil Neville performed a proper captain's role, lifting Everton's final shot over Cech to spark frenzied celebration.

"I said Phil Neville will take number five," said David Moyes, the Everton coach. "I just had a feeling that he should go last if it was going to come down to it. His experience, his nous, I felt he was someone who could handle the situation."

 

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