13 Mar 2016

Everton knock toothless Chelsea out of FA Cup

2:14 pm on 13 March 2016

Romelu Lukaku scored two goals to knock his old side Chelsea out of football's FA Cup 2-0 in a dramatic quarter-final featuring two red cards.

Everton's Romelu Lukaku celebrates scoring a goal.

Everton's Romelu Lukaku celebrates scoring a goal. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Following Lukaku's five-minute double the Chelsea striker Diego Costa was the first player sent off.

He was given his marching orders for a second booking as he retaliated with face-to-face aggression after being fouled by Gareth Barry.

Much of the attention focused on whether Costa, had gone as far as biting his opponent, Luis Suarez-style.

Another question was whether he spat at the feet of referee Michael Oliver after being booked earlier for an altercation with Barry.

Despite his improvement in form after a disinterested start to the campaign under previous manager Jose Mourinho, Costa still often becomes involved in off-the-ball wars that overshadow his hit-or-miss contributions in front of goal.

Here was the ultimate example. After being fouled by Barry, who was happy to wind Costa up like an old grandfather clock, the Spanish international jumped up for a tete-a-tete and ended by burying his head into the Everton midfielder's neck.

It looked momentarily as if he was opening his mouth to bite Barry but there was absolutely no reaction from the England man to suggest he had, and it all ended with Costa offering an unconvincing embrace.

Oliver, though, had seen enough of Costa's antics to send him off for a second yellow card in the 84th minute and his tormentor Barry was similarly dismissed soon after for a foul on Cesc Fabregas.

Everton manager Roberto Martinez told reporters: "Gareth said it's nothing to be worried about ... Diego Costa has a fighting spirit. I don't think it was much.

Barry was then given a second yellow card three minutes from time but Lukaku, sold by former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho to Everton for about $60 million two years ago, had already put victory beyond doubt.

With a replay looking likely, Lukaku conjured up a goal from nowhere, muscling past two defenders on the left flank, powering into the box and, after some nifty footwork, firing a left-foot shot into the corner.

It ended Premier League champions Chelsea's chances of any silverware at the end of another wretched week during which they also crashed out of the Champions League against Paris St Germain.

And it meant caretaker manager Guus Hiddink, who won the FA Cup seven years ago in his previous stand-in spell at Stamford Bridge, had failed in his bid to repeat the achievement following the dismissal of Mourinho in December.