Match report: Derby County 1 Chelsea 3

The Blues will contest a two-legged semi-final in January thanks to goals from Eden Hazard, Filipe Luis and Andre Schurrle.

Hazard netted to make the half-time score 1-0 which was added to after the interval by our Brazilian full-back who hit a fine free-kick, his first Chelsea goal.

Derby closed the gap through Craig Bryson but then became the second consecutive team to have a man sent off against us; Jake Buxton the player dismissed. 

The tie was all but finished by Schurrle's goal inside the final 10 minutes to give Jose Mourinho’s men a merited win, but on the downside we suffered injuries – Kurt Zouma carried off in the first half and Didier Drogba hobbling off in the second although happily, Jose Mourinho reported after the game that their problems are not serious. 


Team news

Mourinho, as he promised in advance, picked a strong side to face opponents a point off the pace in the Championship table.

Didier Drogba replaced Diego Costa up front and Cesc Fabregas returned from suspension to take the position most often occupied by Oscar this season. That meant John Mikel Obi continued alongside Nemanja Matic in a deeper midfield role. Schurrle replaced Willian.

Petr Cech played his third game in a row and Cesar Azpilicueta came in at right-back with Filipe Luis continuing on the left. As in previous Capital One Cup matches this season, Zouma was handed one of the central defensive positions. John Terry was his partner.

 

First half

Chelsea were returning to the scene of a 2-0 FA Cup win last season, but that was in the third round and this was a quarter-final, and Mourinho had made it clear how important he considered the match and this competition.

In the opening minutes, Filipe Luis turned sharply and crossed in one movement for Drogba to win a corner but as Derby cleared and broke, Schurrle fouled Johnny Russell before they reached halfway at the expense of an early yellow card. Drogba tried to bring a long, lofted pass deep into the area under control but ran out of space as we awaited the first genuine effort on goal.

It was a bits and pieces opening 20 minutes to the game. Derby, when they got into promising positions, were often a little wild with the next pass or cross, while Chelsea were occasionally hurried during our periods of possession by some enthusiastic hustling from the home side.

However it was Blues pressure at the other end of the pitch that led to the breakthrough. Derby captain Richard Keogh was the defender who played a crucial loose pass, snapped up in a flash by Hazard.

There was no reprieve for the Rams. The Belgian darted forward, took a return pass from Fabregas and nipped inside what defence was back in place before finishing expertly into the bottom corner.

 

It was a classic example of mistakes that might go unpunished in the lower divisions being capitalised on by a side such as ours. The half was at its midway point and Hazard had added to his eighth goal of the season in the last match at Stamford Bridge with his first away this campaign.

Filipe Luis had a shot saved by the fists of the keeper and Keogh marginally atoned for his earlier contribution by blocking as Drogba met a Schurrle cross. Chelsea were carriying the greater threat after the goal.

Zouma was prominent in keeping Derby at bay when they did push towards the Chelsea goal but sadly he did not see out the opening half. When Derby delivered a corner menacingly just before the interval, Cech was decisive and punched away with power, although the young French defender was floored as the two collided, Cech's head making contact. It was quickly apparent Zouma would not continue and he was eventually carried off on a stretcher, replaced on the pitch by Branislav Ivanovic.  


Second half

After a free-kick-punctuated first five minutes after the recommencement, it was the Rams with the first attempt of the half, and their first proper shot of the game. It came from a cut-back from their right. Will Hughes hit it first time and cleanly but Cech was equal to it and saved.

Schurrle had a shot on the turn deflected wide when a pass to Drogba may have been a better option, but instead the Ivorian made his contribution moments later when he was fouled 25 yards from goal.

There were several blue-shirted players behind the ball but it was a Brazilian who stepped forward to strike it – and it couldn’t have been any better. The ball flew past the wall and left Lee Grant floundering. Filipe Luis had doubled the lead with 55 minutes on the clock. 


We lost a second player to injury soon after, Drogba helped away having slipped awkwardly on rain-dampened turf. Loic Remy was his replacement.

For a period Mourinho’s men were in control of the game but possession was lost twice in quick succession inside our half and from the second time that happened, Derby scored. Played out wide, the ball was then laid back to the edge of the area by Russell to Bryson who finished off the inside of the post.

Now the home side briefly worked up a head of steam and Azpilicueta did well to stop substitute Jordon Ibe doing damage from out wide.

The pressure value was somewhat released by the red card shown to Buxton with 13 minutes left on the clock. His offence was to tug back Remy before the sprinting substitute reached the penalty area. It was the linesman who spotted the offence and after consultation, referee Jonathan Moss reached straight for his red card.


Back on the front foot, the Blues sealed the win with 82 minutes played. Again a loose clearance initiated a goal. Fabregas slipped a pass through to Remy who from an angle drew a save from Grant. But the keeper could only repel the ball back into play and Schurrle made no mistake. 


Once we took the first-half lead, the result only looked vaguely in doubt for a few minutes after Derby had scored their goal. It was a job well done.

We will discover our opponents in the final four when the draw is made after tomorrow night’s quarter-finals.

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Azpilicueta, Zouma (Ivanovic 45+4), Terry (c), Filipe Luis; Mikel, Matic; Schurrle, Fabregas, Hazard (Ramires 83); Drogba (Remy 63).
Unused subs Schwarzer, Willian, Salah, Diego Costa.
Scorers Hazard 23, Filipe Luis 56, Schurrle 82.
Booked Schurrle 3

Derby (4-3-3): Grant; Christie, Keogh (c), Buxton, Forsyth; Hughes (Hendrick 76), Mascarell (Best 83), Bryson; Russell, Martin, Dawkins (Ibe 57).
Unused subs Roos, Calero, Coutts, Naylor.
Scorer Bryson 71.
Sent off Buxton 77
Booked

Referee Jonathan Moss
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