Chelsea booked their place in the fourth round of the FA Cup after seeing off League One side Peterborough United 4-1 on Sunday.
Pedro opened the scoring for the Blues with his superb effort in the 18th minute before Michy Batshuayi’s first goal since August doubled Chelsea’s advantage in the 43rd minute.
Willian then appeared to put the game out of sight for the visitors but Peterborough were boosted when John Terry was shown a straight red card for his last-man challenge in the 65th minute. Tom Nichols netted a consolation effort five minutes later but Pedro rounded off the win with his second of the night.
Ahead of the third-round tie, Chelsea manager Conte had indicated he would make several changes to the starting line-up that lost 2-0 to Tottenham in midweek. And he kept his word as captain John Terry, Nathaniel Chalobah, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Asmir Begovic all started at Stamford Bridge.
Kurt Zouma also made his long-awaited return from a serious knee injury as Conte also handed striker Batshuayi his first start since the EFL Cup defeat to West Ham.
The home side enjoyed much of the early possession and nearly took a fifth-minute lead when Willian’s corner was flicked toward the near post by Gary Cahill only for the defender to see his effort rebound off the post and into the hands of goalkeeper Luke McGee.
The visitors reacted by going close twice down the other end of the pitch after Lee Angol first saw his effort from Marcus Maddison’s cross saved by Begovic before the latter fired high a minute later.
The two chances proved to be the trigger for a flurry of opportunities, for both sides, as McGee was forced to stop Terry’s effort before Ryan Tafazolli headed wide for Peterborough shortly after.
Loftus-Cheek, who enjoyed a fine showing at Stamford Bridge, then helped create an attack that ended in McGee blocking Chalobah’s low effort. When the ball fell to Pedro, however, the goalkeeper could do little to stop the Spaniard’s shot after he cut in and sent a powerful effort into the top corner of the net to hand the Blues the lead.
Pedro could have then doubled Chelsea’s advantage just after the half-hour mark but he somehow managed to fire Loftus-Cheek’s pass onto the bar.
The chance demonstrated that Chelsea’s influence and indeed grip on the game was growing, and the hosts then scored a deserved second two minutes before the break when Willian combined with Ivanovic.
The full-back crossed to Loftus-Cheek, who then teed up Batshuayi allowing the striker to steady himself and drive past McGee.
The two combined seconds after the break when Batshuayi’s cross to Loftus-Cheek resulted in the latter driving just wide, but it wasn’t long before Chelsea had the ball in the back of the net again.
This time it was Willian who scored after latching onto Pedro’s cross and driving a low shot past McGee. Chalobah should have made it 4-0 but drove wide.
Despite the Blues’ hold on the game, Peterborough tested Begovic through Michael Bostwick’s fierce effort from the right, which the Chelsea goalkeeper claimed before the visitors were handed a boost through the dismissal of Terry.
The defender, making his first start since Chelsea’s EFL Cup loss to West Ham, went in on Angol as the forward raced toward goal and, with the 36-year-old being the last man, he was shown a straight red card.
It allowed Peterborough the advantage they needed to score a consolation goal through Nichols, who latched onto Angol’s cross and drove past Begovic.
But Pedro’s second of the night, in the 75th minute, restored Chelsea’s three-goal advantage and ensured Conte’s side booked their place in the next round of the FA Cup with a 4-1 victory in west London.