Kepa’s heroics save see blues progress in Carabao cup

Chelsea progressed through to the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup after beating Southampton 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge.
Kai Havertz had given Chelsea the lead just before the break in their last-16 tie, but Southampton responded shortly after the restart thanks to Che Adams to take the game to a shoot-out.
And eventually it was Thomas Tuchel’s side who prevailed – much like they did in the last round against Aston Villa – thanks to Reece James’ winning effort, as they go into the hat for the last eight – with the draw taking place on Soccer AM from 10.30am on Saturday morning.

Chelsea’s only two real chances of the first half came from corners at each end. Saul Niguez was denied early on by the hand of Fraser Forster, but the big goalkeeper could do nothing to deny Havertz on 44 minutes, as he rose to head home from Hakim Ziyech’s ball into the box.
Southampton threatened little in the opening 45 minutes, but came out after the break looking a totally different side, and within two minutes they were level.
Kyle Walker-Peters forced the situation as he cut into the box from the right and shot low at Kepa, the Chelsea goalkeeper could not hold it though, and it allowed Adams the opportunity to poke his first goal of the season into an empty net from just a yard out.
More chances came and went as the half dragged on. On 72 minutes Saul had another chance from the edge of the box but dragged his effort just wide. Six minutes later Southampton had a chance of their own as a ball from the right found substitute Will Smallbone unmarked in the middle, but his header gave Kepa too much of an opportunity to turn the ball wide.
The Saints went close twice more in stoppage-time as Kepa was on hand to deny them from headed efforts from corners in quick succession, first keeping out Lyanco, then denying Mohammed Salisu.
To penalties it went, and it was subs Theo Walcott and Smallbone who missed for Southampton – with Mason Mount missing for Chelsea – allowing James the chance to send the Blues through.
Man of the Match – Trevoh Chalobah

Such have been his performances this season that it is barely noted when he stands out anymore. Once again Chalobah was brilliant in the heart of Chelsea’s defence. Tuchel has options to play around with his back three, but it is getting harder and harder to justify leaving him out.

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