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Schurrle sends Chelsea through to League Cup semis


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Chelsea saw off Steve McClaren's stubborn Derby to book a place in the last four of the Capital One Cup.

After a sedate opening period, the game burst into life when Cesc Fabregas pounced upon an error by Derby skipper Andy Keogh before feeding Eden Hazard, who duly netted his ninth goal of the season.

Filipe Luis then scored a sublime second-half free-kick after Didier Drogba was upended by Will Hughes, but Craig Bryson soon pulled a goal back for the hosts with a measured finish beyond Petr Cech.

The game was marred late on by a diabolical decision by John Moss, who sent off Jake Buxton for the most innocuous of tugs on substitute Loic Remy, before Andre Schurrle converted a third for Chelsea after Remy's initial shot had been saved by Derby's Lee Grant.

A win here means the Blues are through to the semi-finals of the League Cup - a stage they last reached in 2013 when then manager Rafael Benitez saw his side unceremoniously dumped out by Swansea City.

The Blues are joined in the draw for the last four by Sheffield United, who drew on all their reserves of might to see off Premier League high-flyers Southampton, whilst Newcastle and Tottenham and Bournemouth and Liverpool will, on Wednesday night, fight for the right to join them.

Progression comes at a price for José Mourinho, who saw Kurt Zouma taken off on a stretcher before half-time after a hefty aerial collision with Cech, whilst Drogba limped off late on with what appeared to be a twisted ankle.

Mourinho took no chances with his team selection, choosing a strong starting eleven almost unrecognisable from the likes of Michael Essien, Ashley Cole, Samuel Eto'o and David Luiz, who all started in the FA Cup third round tussle between the two back in January.

And two of his all-star cast combined with 23 minutes on the clock to give Chelsea the lead.

Derby skipper Keogh was forced into a rushed clearance that Fabregas instalntly brought under his spell. The ex-Barcelona man then threaded the ball to Hazard, who showed immense composure in taking two touches before cleverly firing the ball across Grant and into the bottom corner.

Keogh made amends shortly after with a superb block tackle to deny Drogba, who looked a sure fire bet to convert Schurrle's well-disguised cut-back - but the half then reached a painful conclusion for Kurt Zouma, who was caught by a trailing glove by Cech as the goalkeeper cleared a dangerous delivery by Hughes.

Zouma was knocked unconscious and after some much-needed encouragement from Fabregas and Cesar Azpilicueta, a stretcher team finally was able to escort the groggy French centre-half off the field, with the former St Etienne man thankfully having recovered consciousness.

The game turned on a sixpence for Derby in the space of five second-half minutes.

After Hughes had seen a side-footed effort turned aside through a combination of John Mikel Obi and Cech, Chelsea went up the other end and saw Filipe Luis open his account for the club with a quite exquisite free-kick, which had been won when Hughes upended Drogba twenty yards from goal.

Those small margins epitomised this contest, with Chelsea and all their Premier League quality looking comfortable but never truly in absolute authority of this League Cup tie.

And they were made just that little bit more anxious when Bryson fired a measured effort beyond Cech in off the far post to set up what appeared to be a grandstand finish - only for Moss to intervene and take centre stage.

Loic Remy, on a substitute, was played in on goal by Fabregas but was beaten to the ball by Grant - who clearly slid out of his penalty area with the ball in his hands. Yet instead of dismissing the goalkeeper, Buxton was shown a straight red for being adjudged to have fouled Remy even before Grant's accidental hand-ball - a questionable decision indeed.

That left Schurrle with the simple task of making the final throes a formality when, after Remy had seen a shot saved by Grant, the German was on hand to swipe home the rebound and send Chelsea through to the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup.

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Was it really such an audacious red card? I thought he clearly denied a goal scoring opportunity...

Would be interesting if he had the bottle to send both the keeper and Buxton off too!

If anything it was a good old-fashioned tussle, no way was it deserving of a red.

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1) His goal confirmed it

2) I used his name for the alliteration in the title - "Schurrle sends Chelsea through to League Cup semis"

Just thought you're really brave to put Schurrle name, after a lot of people complain about his selfishness in the post match thread :)

Don't you know about it by the way? :ph34r:

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