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FA Cup – Chelsea and West Ham put an end to the illusion

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Two magnificent FA Cup fairytales ended: Chelsea and West Ham delivered over extra time, while Tottenham and Manchester City got rid of difficult Brighton and Fulham.

By Facundo Di Bona (@facudibona).

Chelsea sweated to get into the fifth round of the FA Cup: The Blues (Chelsea) had to go to extra time to eliminate Plymouth Argyle from League One, third division, in a tough match at Stamford Bridge, 2-1.

Without Thomas Tuchel head coach of Chelsea, positive for Covid-19, the Champions League champion and Carabao Cup finalist had to suffer until the end to beat his rival, despite playing with almost all his starters.

Macaulay Gillesphey put a subdued Plymouth ahead: only goals – two from Mateo Kovacic and one from Callum Hudson-Odoi – in the first half delayed the tie.

Until César Azpilicueta arrived, the captain, who scored a great goal with his heel and made it 1-1 on the scoreboard.

The two Spanish sides were protagonists: Marcos Alonso scored the winning goal when the first extra time was over.

As if the story had been written in Spanish, the goalkeeper Kepa was also noted as a figure and protagonist.

In the second extra time, Malang Sarr brought down Ryan Hardie inside the area and the referee awarded a penalty, but Hardie himself – who was willing to make history – shot to his right and the goalkeeper avoided the sacred cry.

The fairy tale of this FA Cup ended painfully and definitively in the other match that pitted a Premier League team against another from the sixth division.

Kidderminster Harriers of the Conference North fell to West Ham also in extra time and by the same result.

Alex Penny put the semi-pro team ahead in the first half and they held on until the game ended in the 91st minute when Declan Rice took the game into extra time.

As penalties flew over Aggborough Stadium and again in agonizing fashion, Jarrod Bowen scored the goal to turn the score around and see the Hammers through to the next round.

The Citizens beat Fulham

In the duel between the leaders of the Premier League and the Championship, Manchester City thrashed Fulham 4-1 and got into the fifth round of the FA Cup.

Pep Guardiola‘s team came from behind and barely gave Marco Silva’s team a chance, a rival they will surely face next season.

Fulham took the lead through Fabio Carvalho, the young sensation who almost signed for Liverpool in this window, but in the end, he did not go to Anfield Road and silenced the Etihad Stadium for a moment with his opening goal.

However, on the next move, Ilkay Gündogan equalized, while it took less than 10 minutes for John Stones to make it 2-1 and turn the score around.

Riyad Mahrez, with a double -the 3 to 1 penalty- closed the tie in the second half.

The Citizens, who did not reserve Kevin de Bruyne, Jack Grealish, or Joao Cancelo, are looking for the second FA Cup of the Guardiola era: they have not raised it since the 2018-19 season.

Tottenham delivered against Brighton

Spurs have qualified for the round of 16 of the FA Cup after defeating Brighton 3-1, who could not stop Harry Kane’s eye for goal scoring, author of a decisive brace that gave his team the pass.

Kane opened the scoring with a real goal: after 13 minutes, he made a hole on the edge of the area and launched a threaded missile at the goal defended by the Spanish Robert Sánchez, who could not do anything to avoid the first goal of the Tottenham.

Shortly after, Brighton received the second at the feet of the Brazilian Emerson Royal, who hit an immense ride across the field, reached the baseline and, trying to cross, his shot hit the foot of Solomon March to enter the rival goal.

At first, it seemed like an incredible goal, a Vaseline without an angle that in the end turned out to be an optical effect, but it was March who caused the genius of the Spurs player.

Although the Ivorian Yves Bissouma closed the gap with half an hour to go, Kane quickly appeared again to sentence the clash thanks to a rebound almost under the line to decree the final 3-1.


 

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