Chelsea progressed to the FA Cup semi-finals with Mason Mount starring in a 2-0 quarter-final win over Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium.
The Blues were certainly not at their sparkling best and could have won by more. However, their quality shone through in the end against the wasteful hosts.
Indeed, Boro had their moments and the home supporters made it hard at times for the visitors. Still, they could not convert when it mattered and Chelsea controlled their lead to progress to Wembley.
England international midfielder Mount starred in the win, with both assists. Romelu Lukaku opened the scoring with a tap-in, before Ziyech’s long-range effort made it 2-0.
In the second half, Middlesbrough were lively and came at Chelsea, but could not find the quality to really threaten their Premier League opponents.
Hakim Ziyech and Mason Mount struggled to find a connection with Lukaku in two early Chelsea chances.
Meanwhile, the Boro players fed off the fierce connection with the Riverside Stadium atmosphere. Isiah Jones was lively at both ends, as he defended a Christian Pulisic advance after winning a corner.
Chelsea were not at their sparkling best and instead worked around the spaces Boro left out of possession.
And the Blues cut the hosts open to make it 1-0 after 15 minutes. Thiago Silva started the move by giving it to Ziyech, who fed Mount.
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The England international’s cross was pinpoint, helped by Dael Fry’s fatal step to the right which allowed Lukaku – with the momentum – to tap in.
Boro responded by stepping up their press. However, Ruben Loftus-Cheek recovered after a failed piece of skill saw the red shirts swarm around him, and Chelsea got through a run of free-kicks and corners for the hosts.
Indeed, Ziyech then made it 2-0. Mount got the assist again, but his pass this time was simpler. Still, Ziyech’s finish caught the eye as he cut inside and swerved a bobbling shot past Joe Lumley into the bottom corner.
Lukaku then rounded Lumley, but a fantastic Anfernee Dijksteel block stopped it from becoming 3-0.
Chelsea control advantage to progress in FA Cup
Boro had to take get forward and take risks in the second half. Arsenal loanee Folarin Balogun found some space just outside the Chelsea box but fired over as four blue shirts surrounded him.
Duncan Watmore then skied over from inside the box. As such, the hosts tried their luck from out wide again.
Jones got in a dangerous cross from the right, but Edouard Mendy did well to smother that danger.
It was therefore up to Chelsea to put the tie to bed with a third goal. However, their advantage stayed at two when Lumley tipped wide substitute Timo Werner’s flick from a Mount free-kick.
At the other end, though, Thiago Silva, Antonio Rudiger and Mendy did well to keep Boro out.
They are subsequently the first team into the semi-finals. In the other three quarter-finals on Sunday, Manchester City play Southampton, Everton face Crystal Palace and Liverpool travel to Nottingham Forest.