Ayoze Pérez

Narrow Chelsea Defeat For City In FA Cup Quarter-Finals

Leicester City were edged 1-0 by eight-time winners Chelsea in the Emirates FA Cup Quarter-Finals at King Power Stadium on Sunday evening.
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There were four changes to the starting XI from the Premier League draw with Brighton & Hove Albion, with Ayoze Pérez, Youri Tielemans, Dennis Praet and Harvey Barnes starting for City.

The Foxes started on the front foot on Filbert Way with Barnes' cross prompting Willy Caballero into an early intervention and the Argentine did enough to prevent it from falling to Pérez in the penalty area.

On 13 minutes, meanwhile, an inviting free-kick from Tielemans – on the Belgian’s 50th appearance for the Club – was nodded towards goal by Wilfred Ndidi, but Caballero saved well.

Tielemans then took matters into his own hands, running with purpose at Chelsea’s backline, and arrowing a low effort towards the bottom corner. Caballero, though, was there again to divert it behind.

On the half-hour mark, Leicester’s pressure continued, and Jonny Evans was unfortunate not to get on the end of Ben Chilwell’s excellent cross after breaking free of his marker in the Blues’ 18-yard box.

At the other end of the pitch, Christian Pulisic forced Kasper Schmeichel – on his 370th start for the Foxes – into making an outstanding fingertip save to push the American’s drive over the crossbar.

City finished the first half strongly, however, with Jamie Vardy sending a low effort wide before they also maintained their pursuit of a goal with a succession of corners before referee Mike Dean’s whistle.

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard made three changes at the break, introducing César Azpilicueta, Ross Barkley and Mateo Kovačić, replacing youngsters Reece James, Mason Mount and Billy Gilmour.

The west London outfit posed more of a threat, too, with Tammy Abraham putting the ball in the net on 55 minutes, only to see the linesman’s flag raised – rightly – for offside after an inventive Pulisic pass.

With Hamza Choudhury and Marc Albrighton brought on for the final half an hour on Filbert Way, City briefly found more space as Chilwell galloped down the wing and saw his attempted cross clip the bar.

However, it was the visiting Blues who took the lead on 63 minutes. Willian’s cross was met by Barkley – sending a first-time effort past Schmeichel – to net his third FA Cup goal of the 2019/20 season.

Demarai Gray was Leicester's third substitute of the evening, replacing Barnes with 14 minutes to play, but Chelsea frustrated Brendan Rodgers' men with an effective defensive performance late on.

Firstly, Vardy's attempt on the spin in Chelsea's area was blocked, before Pedro did enough to put Çağlar Söyüncü off just as the Turkey star looked destined to head Albrighton's cross in for the equaliser.

With City looking to pen the visitors in, Lampard's men broke in the latter moments and, at one point, had four attackers closing on goal, but Schmeichel made a super stop to deny Barkley a second.

The last real opportunity to come Leicester's way came about as Chilwell slotted it into Ndidi, on the edge of the Blues' area, but the Nigerian's side-footed effort flew wide of Caballero's far post.

Major moment…

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Ross Barkley
Ross Barkley

Barkley's goal settled a tense tie between the sides who sit third and fourth in the Premier League.

Chelsea had threatened in the opening stages of the second period, and a goal came in the 63rd minute to hand the visitors something to protect as the clock ticked down at King Power Stadium.

A tidy finish from Ross Barkley, following Willian’s cross from the right, evaded the Foxes’ backline and changed the dynamic of the game itself with the Londoners frustrating their hosts from thereon in.

Who impressed?

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Kasper Schmeichel
Kasper Schmeichel

Schmeichel at the full-time whistle following Sunday's loss to Chelsea.

Speaking on LCFC TV's City On The Sofa show at full-time, former defender Gerry Taggart said: "Nobody can question the endeavour. I thought it was a decent performance from Leicester. 

"In the final third, the decisive ball didn't come, but the overall performance was better. Kasper [Schmeichel] made a few great saves and Leicester's defenders were sound for most of the game."

Where does it leave us?

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Youri Tielemans
Youri Tielemans

Tielemans keeps the pressure on for the Foxes on Filbert Way.

Chelsea join Manchester United and Arsenal in the hat for the FA Cup Semi-Final draw, which will take place at half-time during Sunday's final last-eight tie between Newcastle United and Manchester City.

City, meanwhile, turn their attentions to the Premier League, with seven matches of the campaign remaining. Brendan Rodgers’ men currently sit in third place on 55 points and a +30 goal difference.

Coming up…

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Brendan Rodgers
Brendan Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers speaks to his players during the game's second drinks break.

The busy fixture schedule continues in earnest for the Foxes in a trip to Goodison Park to tackle Everton in the Premier League on Wednesday night (6pm kick-off).

On Saturday afternoon, Crystal Palace are the visitors to King Power Stadium in another behind-closed-doors top-flight fixture (3pm kick-off).

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All times BST.

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