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FA Cup: Chelsea outclass Coventry 2-0
London, Mar 7 (Agencies):
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Published on 8 Mar. 2009 1:03 AM IST
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Chelsea booked their place in the FA Cup semi-finals with a convincing win over Championship side Coventry City. Some poor Coventry defending allowed Didier Drogba to open the scoring on 15 minutes when he muscled Scott Dann off the ball and fired home. City worked hard for an equaliser but never managed to open up the visitors and Chelsea remained well on top. Alex made sure of victory on 72 minutes when he met Ricardo Quaresma’s superb cross after a swift counter-attack. Drogba’s goal was part of an impressive display by the Ivory Coast striker, who has now scored three goals in the five games that Chelsea have played - and won - since Guus Hiddink took charge of the Blues. Hiddink used Drogba as a lone striker at the Ricoh Arena and, as well as scoring Chelsea’s opener, he led the line superbly from the start. Inside the first three minutes, Drogba latched on to a long clearance by Cech and used his strength to hold off and turn Ben Turner before sending a low shot wide of the far post. Drogba’s industry soon brought him a reward, however, although his goal owed as much to some terrible defending from the home side as it did his own good work. Dann failed to clear after a poor header by Ben Turner and Drogba muscled him off the ball before rounding goalkeeper Kieran Westwood and firing home. Coventry responded well, especially when Leon Best and Freddy Eastwood ran at the visitors, but they failed to test Cech and Chelsea were also continuing to look dangerous. Hiddink’s tactics, with Florent Malouda and Salomon Kalou operating on either side of Drogba, often had Coventry at full stretch and Michael Ballack was unlucky to see his shot blocked after Frank Lampard and Jose Boswinga carved the home defence apart. Lampard was orchestrating many of Chelsea’s attacks from the middle of the park and almost added a second goal himself with a dipping 30-yard free-kick before half-time that Westwood did well to tip over. And, while Coventry continued to work hard in the second period, their failure to create a meaningful chance meant they looked no nearer to finding an equaliser. The home side’s best moments came when their long-throw expert Aron Gunnarsson launched the ball into the Chelsea penalty area. But one of those set-pieces led directly to Chelsea’s second goal when Hiddink’s side broke quickly and Quaresma’s searching ball was easily converted by Alex. All in all it was a satisfying day for Hiddink, who maintained his 100% winning record as Blues boss and was also able to bring Michael Essien off the bench in the second half for his first appearance after over six months out with a knee ligament injury

 
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