BY PAUL LAGAN
Eden Hazard scored the late winner that sent Chelsea into the semi-final of the Carabao Cup at the expense of hard-working Bournemouth tonight at Stamford Bridge.
Hazard came off the bench for Ross Barkley on 61 minutes and with nine minutes left on the clock and penalties looking the most likely outcome, the Belgium popped up in the penalty area and toe-poked the ball home.
The Blues started off quickly, forcing the Cherries back with a series of corners. However no serious efforts on goal resulted.
The first attempt on goal, came from the right boot of wide man Willian, on five minutes, but his edge of penalty area drive went straight to Arfur Boruc.
The second, a minute later saw Ross Barkley force Boruc into a fine diving save.
A lightening quick counter-attack by the visitors saw Lys Mousset and Callum Wilson combine brilliantly to carve the Blues defence apart on 17 minutes. Wilson, a January target for Chelsea shot inches wide of Kepa Arrizalalga’s right post.
Giroud combined well with Willian on 20 minutes and the France striker got a fierce low left-footer which Boruc did well to block.
Willian had a glorious chance to open the scoring on 32 minutes, racing clear from a Ruben Loftus-Cheek defence-splitter.
Boruc was again in the right spot to snaffle to chance from the Brazilian.
Straight up the other end and Mousset produced a wonderful curling right-footer that Arrizabalaga parried away for a corner.
There were no changes by either side at half-time.
Loftus-Cheek produced a sublime piece of skill, which resulted in a low drive which c;lipped Boruc’s right post.
Seconds later, on 53 minutes, Sarri made his first change, Pedro on for Willian.
Hazard was next on the pitch – replacing Barkley on 61 minutes.
Bournemouth too advantage of Chelsea’s inability to react to the substitutions and forced the Blues back.
Sarri was going to bring on N’Golo Kante but a suspected hamstring injury to Andreas Christensen saw David Luiz on the pitch instead, on 80 minutes.
It reaped instant dividends as a fine break by he home side saw Hazard, toe-poke a left-footer into the back of the net. The ball took a slight defection off Charlie Daniels on the way.
Giroud forced a point-blank save from Boruc and despite Bournemouth’s late rally, the Blues eked out the final minutes successfully.
Chelsea are at home again on Saturday where they face Leicester City in the Premier League.
Teams: Chelsea, Arrizabalaga, Rudiger, Fabregas, Barkley, Loftus-Cheek, Giroud, Willian, Kovacic,, Christensen, Emerson
Subs, Caballero, Kante, Hazard, Hudson-Odoi, Zappacosta, Luiz
Bournemouth, Boruc, Cook, Ake, Mousset, Ibe, Daniels, Wilson, Stanilas, Brooks, Rico, Simpson
Subs Traves, Surman, Pugh, King, Defoe, Mings, Fraser
Referee Anthony Taylor