Premier League β€’ England

Chelsea survive scare against lively Luton Town to scrape through to FA Cup quarter-finals

Romelu Lukaku scores against Luton

Chelsea survived a scare against a lively Luton Town to scrape through to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

The Championship side opened the scoring with the first attack of the game as Reece Burke flicked a header into the back of the net. Saul Niguez equalised for the Blues but Harry Cornick restored the lead. However, Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku struck to flip the game on its head.

Luton boss Nathan Jones made five changes from their 1-0 win over Derby County at the weekend.

James Bree, Kal Naismith, Allan Campbell, Henri Lansbury and Elijah Adebayo were replaced by Peter Kioso, Carlos Mendes Gomes, Luke Berry, Admiral Muskwe and captain Dan Potts.

Thomas Tuchel rung even more changes of his own. Only Mason Mount and Antonio Rudiger remained in the starting XI, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek intriguingly brought in at centre-back.

The hosts raced into the lead inside two minutes. Berry’s corner was headed home with ease by Burke.

Chelsea seemed stunned with Kepa Arrizabalaga, fresh from his Carabao Cup final penalty miss on Sunday, having to be alert to snuff out a cross.

Having made a quick start Jones’ side then suffered a blow. Goalkeeper Jed Steer rolled his ankle while racing Lukaku to a loose ball, and he had to be replaced by Harry Isted.

They nearly doubled their lead, though, after Malang Sarr miscued a back-pass and conceded a corner. Kepa flung the ball away in frustration before being forced into a save at close-range from Dan Potts’ header.

Chelsea level but not for long

However, the visitors raced up the other end and found an equaliser.

Mount latched onto a loose passed and played in Werner. The ball broke for Saul who shot first-time into the bottom right corner.

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Isted had to make two good stops to make sure it wasn’t quickly 2-1. He first denied Saul a second, tipping his shot round the post, and then saved Kenedy’s rising effort at full-stretch.

The back-up ‘keeper was also equal to Lukaku’s low strike but was nearly punished by the striker after misjudging a long ball on the edge of his box.

The Hatters capitalised on Isted’s good work and regained control of the match before half-time.

Some lovely interchange allowed Cornick to get in behind and he tucked home.

The sprightly Saul let fly from range after the restart, but Isted claimed well as Chelsea tried to find their rhythm once more.

A corner fell to the Spanish midfielder shortly after and he attempted an audacious flying back-heel which went over the crossbar.

Luton fail to hold on

He turned provider for Werner as he fed him in the box, but Luton snuffed out the danger.

The Blues dominated the ball but it was manageable for their opponents.

Substitutions were made by both sides just after the hour mark. Christian Pulisic and Harvey Vale came on for Kenedy and Hudson-Odoi.

Goalscorer Cornick made way for Cameron Jerome, and Berry was replaced by Campbell.

After Muskwe was booked for a cynical foul on Loftus-Cheek, the midfielder standing in as a defender played a delightful through ball which Werner controlled and converted from.

Further changes followed, with Reece James replacing Jorginho and Danny Hylton and Robert Snodgrass introduced for Mendes Gomes and Muskwe.

And soon after Werner turned provider, passing across the face of goal for Lukaku to turn home.

The Belgian had been very quiet but was in the prime position when he needed to be.

Luton were claiming for hand ball off Reece James as he tracked back into the box, but nothing was doing as it came off his chest.

Three minutes were added on at the end of the second half, but Chelsea saw out the win to reach the last eight of the competition.