Romelu Lukaku scored twice against his former club as Everton beat Chelsea 2-0 in the FA Cup quarter-finals at Goodison Park to ensure the fallen champions will finish a woeful season empty-handed.
The Belgium international beat the combined defensive might of Cesar Azpilicueta, Jon Obi Mikel, Branislav Ivanovic and Gary Cahill to score a brilliant individual opening goal.
He then finished off the visitors with a clinical right-footed strike to give his side their first visit to Wembley since the 2012 semi-final, which they lost to near-neighbours Liverpool.
Lukaku was deemed surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge by Jose Mourinho but since moving to Everton in a £28million deal he has scored 63 goals in 118 appearances and has 25 this season alone – the first player to achieve that feat for Everton since Gary Lineker in 1985-86.
Majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri, attending his first match since acquiring an £85million 49.9 percent stake in the club, has pledged to provide the cash to keep their star players and he would be well advised to make the big striker an offer he cannot refuse as soon as possible.
Almost single-handedly Lukaku inflicted Guus Hiddink’s first domestic victory since taking over in mid-December and to compound matters for the Dutch caretaker boss, striker Diego Costa was sent off late on after a clash with Gareth Barry which may invite further scrutiny.
The Spain international pushed his face into Barry’s neck, seemingly intent on biting him, but appeared to withdraw at the last moment.
The players then embraced but Costa was still shown a red card – and Barry followed moments later for a second booking.
While there had been no indication in the preceding 77 minutes of the brilliance which Lukaku produced, the late flurry of yellow and red cards was entirely predictable.
There were more fouls than shots in a scrappy, over-physical first half which surprisingly saw only two bookings.
It was absolutely no surprise Costa was one, cautioned for jumping into Barry in retribution for the midfielder’s foul on him earlier which the Chelsea striker felt should have warranted a yellow card.
Pedro’s heavy touch took the ball out of play after he skipped past Robles but it was not until the 44th minute there was a save of any note as Joel Robles tipped over Willian’s free-kick.
Costa came closest to breaking the deadlock just before the hour but having skipped past Ramiro Funes Mori and Robles, his shot from the acutest of angles rolled along the goal line and past the far post.
Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois denied compatriot Lukaku after Cleverley’s incisive through-ball but was powerless to deny him when he stepped up a gear 12 minutes from time.
When he picked up the ball wide on the left there appeared little danger but Lukaku set off with such drive and determination Chelsea’s defenders just could not handle him. Having weaved his way past four players, he confidently stroked home.
His second, from the other side of the penalty area, was less spectacular but equally clinical.
Chelsea knew the game was up but Costa’s decision to clash with Barry was patently ridiculous, considering what had gone before.
His red card was swiftly followed by another after Barry’s foul on Cesc Fabregas, but it could not dampen Everton’s celebrations as Chelsea’s last hope of silverware went the same way as Costa.
Romelu Lukaku has scored in five of his last six games in all competitions (six goals).
Chelsea were eliminated in the quarter-final for the first time since 2007/08, when Barnsley knocked them out.
Lukaku has scored in each of his last five FA Cup appearances for Everton (six goals).
After four games without a goal against former club Chelsea, Lukaku bagged two in 286 seconds.
Diego Costa received his first red card for Chelsea in this game.
Gareth Barry was sent off for the second time this season – he was also red carded against Chelsea last season.
Everton are yet to concede a single goal in the FA Cup this season.
The Toffees have reached the FA Cup semi-final for the first time since 2011/12, where they were eliminated by Liverpool.
Guus Hiddink lost his first FA Cup match as Chelsea manager, having won all six of his games previous to this.