Chelsea 2 (Pedro 62, D. Costa 89)
Wolves FA Cup run may be over but Paul Lambert’s team didn’t go down without a fight and the game was in the balance until the 89th minute when Diego Costa got a second for runaway Premier League leaders Chelsea.
The Head Coach made five changes to the team that had struggled against Wigan in midweek and 19-year-old Donovan Wilson, who has scored nine goals in 19 Under 23 appearances this season, had his first taste of life with the seniors when he was named as a substitute.
The atmosphere when the teams came out was little short of electric and it was Wolves that kicked –off attacking the North Bank end.
The first threat came from Wanderers as Conor Coady’s deep cross forced Asmir Begovic to turn the ball over the bar. Helder Costa’s corner was headed clear.
With five minutes gone the noise intensified as Coady’s centre was deflected into the path of George Saville who was stationed near the penalty spot. The former Chelsea midfielder looked odds on to score but his shot came back off the post and bounced to Andreas Weimann who fired over the bar.
Willian, with a great piece of ball control, raced into the home area and Carl Ikeme was quickly off his line to block the midfielder’s attempted lob. Willian regained possession and this time Ikeme got a hand to his cross turning the ball behind for a corner.
Diego Costa and Saville both needed treatment after an accidental clash of heads as the flag kick was cleared.
In the 20th minutes penalty appeals following Willian’s challenge on Weimann were ignored by the referee who, seconds later booked Saville for a late tackle on the Chelsea man.
Helder Costa checked inside and from the corner of the box hit a shot that carried pace but was too close to Begovic to trouble the keeper.
Weimann’s late challenge on Willian resulted in a second Wolves booking. Cesc Fabregas’s free-kick from wide on the right was headed clear by Matt Doherty.
Doherty then figured in attack as he took the ball to the by-line and delivered a cross that was just too high for the head of Jon Dadi Bodvarsson.
In first-half stoppage time, Victor Moses fired in a low cross that Diego Costa hooked wide of the near post.
Half-Time: Wolves 0 Chelsea 0
From the restart, Helder Costa took the ball to the by-line and hit a low cross that John Terry booted away from the nearside of the six-yard box.
Pedro was booked after he had blatantly tripped Helder Costa to the right of the Chelsea box. Costa’s free-kick was headed away.
Pedro was then well wide with a long distance effort and when Kurt Zouma tried his luck from a similar position, he lifted the ball high into the Stan Cullis Stand.
Chelsea took the lead in the 65th minute. Diego Costa and Eden Hazard combined to set up Nathaniel Chalobah for a cross that was headed home by Pedro.
Cesar Azpilicueta replaced Pedro for the visitors and, for Wolves, Wilson made his debut when he replaced Weimann.
Willian looked on for a second Chelsea goal when he burst through the middle and into the home area, but Kortney Hause got in a great challenge which made the Brazilian lose his balance and the chance was gone.
After N’Golo Kante had taken over from Willian, there was a double Wolves change with Romain Saiss and Connor Ronan replacing Saville and Bodvarsson respectively.
Fabregas hit a 25-yard drive that was deflected behind for a corner, before Ruben Loftus-Cheek became the last substitution of the afternoon when he went on for Hazard.
Chelsea killed the tie off in the 89th minute thanks to what was, for them, a fortunate deflection. Fabregas’s low cross hit Doherty and ran into the path of Diego Costa who, even though he scuffed his shot, still found the back of the net.
Wolves: Ikeme, Doherty, Coady, Edwards, Batth (capt), Hause, H. Costa, Price, Bodvarsson (Ronan 84), Saville (Saiss 84), Weimann (Wilson 76).
Unused subs: Burgoyne, Stearman, Evans, Enobakhare.
Bookings: Saville (20 – foul), Weimann (33 – foul), Batth (70 - dissent).
Chelsea: Begovic, Fabregas, Zouma, Ake, Hazard (Loftus-Cheek 86), Pedro (Azpilicueta 73), Moses, D. Costa, Willian (Kante 80), Terry (capt), Chalobah.
Unused subs: Eduardo, Kenedy, Batshuayi, Cahill.
Bookings: Pedro (49 – foul).
Referee: J. Moss.
Liverpool Academy Under 18s 3 Wolves 1 (Hesson)