Chelsea booked their place in the League Cup semi-finals after goals from Willian and Alvaro Morata secured a 2-1 win over Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge.
Willian netted in the 13th minute of Chelsea’s quarter-final clash against Eddie Howe’s side on Wednesday night before Dan Gosling equalised in the 90th minute to look to send the tie to extra-time.
But substitute Alvaro Morata scored the winner moments later to to send Chelsea into the last four at the expense of a spirited Bournemouth team.
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte had hinted he would make several changes to his starting line-up for the League Cup game and stayed true to his word after keeping just three of his starters that helped Chelsea seal a 1-0 win over Southampton at the weekend.
In came Michy Batshuayi for just his sixth start in all competitions this season as Kenedy filled in for the suspended Marcos Alonso at left wing-back and 17-year-old Ethan Ampadu started in place of the rested Andreas Christensen.
And the changes paid off in just the 13th minute when Batshuayi found Kenedy with his pass before the Brazilian’s backheel fell to Cesc Fabregas on the left.
The Spaniard latched onto the ball and made a fine run into the box where he squared the ball for the incoming Willian, who calmly finished off from close range.
It was a deserved goal for the hosts, but Bournemouth were handed another blow just three minutes later when striker Jermain Defoe was forced off with an injury that he sustained following an early tackle by Ampadu, which earned the teenager a yellow card.
With Bournemouth’s main attacking threat off, Chelsea continued their efforts to try and double their lead but saw Batshuayi fail to cleanly connect with Davide Zappacosta’s cross before his close-range effort was blocked by Artur Boruc.
The Belgian’s efforts left Conte frustrated on the touchline, with the Italian having said pre-game that Batshuayi needed to prove to him that he deserves to start over first-choice striker Alvaro Morata and forward Eden Hazard.
Batshuayi’s play in the box did see him appeal for a penalty after he received an elbow to the face although nothing was given in a first half that was littered with fouls and tackles.
But the second period brought a renewed sense of purpose from Eddie Howe’s side as they launched attack after attack in front of their fans, who made plenty of noise to spur the Cherries on.
Fearing the worst with his side leading by just a goal, Conte brought on three of his established players in Hazard, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Morata but Bournemouth kept on piling on the pressure – with Jordon Ibe driving a low shot just wide of the post in the 77th minute.
Bournemouth were rewarded in the 90th minute for their pressure when Ibe’s pass found Gosling, whose sweet strike hurtled past Willy Caballero.
However, Chelsea launched a swift counter-attack moments later that ended in Hazard’s backheel pass finding Morata, who finished off from close range to secure a 2-1 win for the Blues that keeps their hopes of winning the League Cup trophy alive.