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FA Cup Finals: Lukaku scores as Chelsea face Luton

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Chelsea overcame another seismic day in the Stamford Bridge club’s history by narrowly avoiding FA Cup shock, beating Luton 3-2 at Kenilworth Road.

omelu Lukaku finished a late Timo Werner cross to thwart the Hatters’ dream of reaching their first quarter-finals since 1994, on the day Roman Abramovich signaled the end of the Blues’ reign was coming. finish.

Werner scored and made two other Chelsea goals in a solid night for the German striker, with Saul Niguez also scoring at home.

But any notion of a good and easy night was erased as soon as Reece Burke went unchallenged with a second-minute header for the second-placed hosts.

Harry Cornick’s shot gave Luton a 2-1 first-half lead and dreamed of a major disappointment against the teams that reached the FA Cup final last season.

But the added strength of Chelsea and the nous eventually applied enough pressure to subdue the Hatters.

And so Chelsea entered the sixth round, eyes still sure of another final having lost Sunday’s Carabao Cup tie to Liverpool on penalties.

As the game warmed up at Luton, Abramovich confirmed he would sell Chelsea after nearly 20 years as owner.

Any uncertainty off the pitch is sure to pervade the pitch, as the Blues have experimented with nine changes since Sunday and a new system to accommodate those fresh feet.

The Chelsea team looked temporarily distracted and disjointed from their opening match.

And Luton made them pay almost immediately.

Defender Burke headed home under little pressure from a corner, where Chelsea had left much to be desired.

The Blues are facing an uphill struggle, with a toxic home audience ready to swing knives at every opportunity as a familiar group of away players grapple with the setup.

Luton keeper Jed Steer was followed by a seemingly nasty knee injury, which fell uncomfortably on the pitch with no one in contact.

Aston Villa’s loanee was taken out on a stretcher after a lengthy period of treatment, prompting youngster Harry Isted to come on board.

Saul overcame Chelsea level with the Blues’ first visible attack, attempting to attack the home side after Mason Mount had helped Werner up and running.

The Spaniard then had a good chance to put Chelsea ahead, but this time couldn’t beat the advancing Isted, who hit the post.

Saul’s equalizer should have helped Chelsea settle, but just as the visitors were expected to take control, Luton struck again.

Cornick darted out of the Chelsea circle and coolly shot past Kepa, who was late off his touchline just enough for striker Luton to hit the corner.

Luton continued to pressurize but was eventually called off as Chelsea cleared their talented bench.

Christian Pulisic and Reece James provided impetus and initiative, and Werner benefited first by overcoming the onslaught of Isted.

Werner then turned to the supplier again, cutting across the right wing before swinging a low ball across the goal, allowing Lukaku to rush home and settle the game.

Southampton 3 West Ham 1

Romain Perraud’s stunning first-half rocket lit up St Mary’s as Southampton advanced to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup by beating Premier League rivals West Ham 3-1.

French full-back Perraud led the Saints to victory in style with his first goal for the club, heading the home side from over 25 yards.

Michail Antonio quickly leveled for the Hammers but James Ward-Prowse’s penalty – awarded after VAR intervention – and Armando Broja’s late goal put the hosts through.

Ward-Prowse made a chilling switch from 12 yards with just over 20 minutes left after Craig Dawson was found to have brought in Broja as a substitute when he scored the winning goal.

David Moyes’ high-flying Hammers had no answer to falling behind for a second time and now have the rest of the campaign to focus on their pursuit of Europa League glory and Champions League spot.

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl made a big surprise by making nine changes to the game.

But the Austrian’s decision was corroborated as the south coast club – reaching the semi-finals in 2018 and 2021 – impressively advanced to the final eight games of the tournament for the third time in five seasons. .

Hasenhuttl admitted before the game that he had been trying to focus on his work since Russia invaded Ukraine, calling the football comparison “ridiculous”.

Players from both clubs have been directly affected, with West Ham’s Andriy Yarmolenko sidelined by the crisis at home and Saints defender Lyanco’s sister injured among those forced flee from conflict.

Yellow and blue lights – the colors of the Ukrainian flag – illuminate the stadium before the game begins, accompanied by applause from all over the ground.

Despite his form sitting comfortably in the middle of the table, Hasenhuttl has rotated his squad considerably, leaving some early home fans feeling a bit underwhelmed.

Only captain Ward-Prowse and right-back Kyle Walker-Peters were retained after Friday’s win over Norwich, while Hammers manager Moyes opted for just two changes, bringing in goalkeeper Alphonse Areola and defender Issa Diop .

The Saints provisional squad acquitted themselves very well in the relatively even first half, with the visitors initially proving to be more dangerous.

Striker Jarrod Bowen is a constant threat but West Ham – supported by 4,800 traveling fans – lacks a clinical dimension, shown by Tomas Soucek that was not well marked early on.

And they were stunned by a thunderous long-range shot just half an hour into the game.

Former Brest player Perraud collected a cross from full-back Walker-Peters before stepping forward to unleash a left-footed sunk that flew past fellow countryman Areola and into the right corner.

The eye-catching target was the Saints’ first attempt and they would certainly double the lead before the break if Adam Armstrong had provided better service to Will Smallbone.

To strengthen his grip on the game, Hasenhuttl brought in energetic midfielder Stuart Armstrong and top scorer Broja in the second period.

West Ham’s fluidity was further disrupted by bloodthirsty midfielder Soucek being forced out of the game with a head injury after being stuck on Ibrahima Diallo’s arm.

But they leveled with half an hour to go.

The home side’s keeper Willy Caballero made a mess in a Bowen corner and Diop helped the ball cross the goal to Saints loanee Antonio, who was sent off in the league game. in September – to poke the net from just a few meters.

Moyes responded to the leveler with a fist.

However, parity did not last long. Jack Stephens’ hopeful strike sent Broja racing towards Areola’s goal but when he pulled the trigger he was tracked down by Dawson.

Main match officer Marriner initially played before pointing to the spot that watched the replay on the advice of VAR Simon Hooper.

England international Ward-Prowse then scored his seventh goal of the season in mid-season, with celebrations made by five fans running on the pitch.

Dawson almost atone for his earlier error but his late header was repulsed by Caballero as West Ham tried to force extra time.

Southampton had seven more minutes to last and, when that time was almost over, Chelsea loanee Broja rushed into the box and beat Kurt Zouma before finishing to deliver an unquestionable result.

https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/fa-cup-round-up-lukaku-hits-the-winner-as-chelsea-fight-back-against-luton-41404881.html FA Cup Finals: Lukaku scores as Chelsea face Luton

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