Chelsea’s season ends in early March as the Blues lose their cool in the final 15 minutes to crash out of the FA Cup at the quarter-final stage.
Lukaku scored two excellent goals either side of the 80-minute mark to kill off all hope for his former side, as Costa appeared to bite Barry to earn his first marching orders for the Blues.
It means the visitors make the long journey home to SW6 knowing a week-defining season ends with nothing, after the mid-week exit of the Champions League to Paris Saint-Germain, meaning Hiddink and Terry leave Chelsea trophyless.
It was a first half of much rough and tumble but zero quality. Kenedy charged down the left and a quick one-two off Pedro saw him blast the ball wide, but there would be limited quality on show from either side thereafter.
There would be plenty of players winding each other up though. Costa felt he was being picked on by Barry, and instantly reacted with a disguised elbow just seconds later. It earned him a yellow card and is the side to Costa’s game he cannot seem to shake off.
Pedro and Kenedy equally went all-in in challenges but it was not all rough from the visitors, who were on the receiving end of many a challenge themselves from Everton aggression, who clearly were set up to press high by Martinez.
The 25-minute mark had passed before a meaningful chance. Barkley floated a great ball to Cleverley, who turned but shot from too far out to trouble Courtois.
Everton were very strong on the right-wing as Lennon was keen to exercise his experience over Kenedy’s youthfulness and, with the occasion helping hand of cover from Pedro, the Brazilian handled the half very well.
The main cause for Chelsea concern would always be from Lukaku, their ex-player, and he had a free header from a Coleman cross but the teasing ball was just too high.
Fabregas found Pedro who rounded Robles but just ran out of space to do anything meaningful with the ball, nor was their sufficient contact to even attempt hitting the deck.
Willian had a free-kick well tipped over from a central position, whilst Cleverley was allowed another shot when Baines was given room to charge forward, but ultimately both sides were far too intricate and over-passed the ball in a cagey first 45 minutes, with both sides eager to make the semi-finals knowing there was no other competition to play for.
The second half started in Everton’s favour. Funes Mori headed over from a corner when in a good position, whilst Cahill needed to be quick to make a last-ditch slide tackle on Lukaku else the Belgian would have been in after Barkley beat Kenedy.
Costa should have scored when Fabregas found him but,after rounding Robles, was in too tight an angle and the ball ran agonisingly parallel to the goal-line without creeping over.
The game was becoming more and more open. Lukaku was proving a handful but Cahill was on his toes; meanwhile at the other end, Pedro was one-on-one with McArthur.
Courtois had to race off his line to beat Lukaku to a through-ball by Cleverley, but Lukaku would soon score his 24th goal of the season.
A through-ball behind Cahill to Lukaku looked innocuous but the rest was the Belgian’s work and what fine work it was too. The former Chelsea man beat four of his old team-mates, left Cahill for dead and raced into the box and beat compatriot Courtois with a composed finish. It was an excellent goal.
Chelsea now needed to react and Remy came on, but no sooner had he come on did Lukaku score his second. A Kenedy throw-in saw Everton pounce and the Brazilian played Lukaku on to rifle through Courtois’ legs.
The misery was just beginning. Costa looked to bite Barry and was sent off, as Terry came on to act as centre-forward. Even though Barry would then get sent off, everything went wrong in 15 minutes and Chelsea’s season ends in March.
Man of the Match
KENEDY: The youngster had a good game containing Lennon and was the defender not at fault with Lukaku’s first goal when Azpilicueta, Ivanovic and Cahill all were. He was the culprit to play Lukaku on side for his second goal though, but no other Chelsea player did anything of merit or looked bothered enough to turn in a Man of the Match performance as Chelsea need a quick rebuild. 5/10
Hiddink knew this was the end of the season for his side: “I cannot criticise our attitude but the sharpness was left around the box. Everyone knows where Chelsea were. The first task was to get out of the relegation zone and we did that fast. There were two cups at stake [but] it is important now that we have the pride to play when there is nothing much at stake.”
Martinez was full of joy: “It is a fantastic feeling, more than anything the atmosphere that was created. every one of us will take it away. Romelu Lukaku’s goal was one of the great goals we will see in the FA Cup.”
Post written by Martin Li. Martin has had five years’ blogging experience, writing for the likes of Bleacher Report and SWOL. He runs his own Chelsea blog — The Chelsea Chronicle — which has match reaction and analysis from every Chelsea match. You can follow him on Twitter.
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