Chelsea cruised into the Carabao Cup quarter-finals after claiming a 2-0 win over Blackburn Rovers.
A win and a clean sheet saw Chelsea get back to winning ways as they comfortably knocked out the Championship side at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night.
Benoit Badiashile netted Chelsea’s opener in the 30th minute as he slotted home from close range with a cool finish.
Raheem Sterling doubled the lead in the 59th minute with a curling effort into the right-hand corner.
Chelsea were unfortunate not to get an early penalty inside the opening 10 minutes. Raheem Sterling was brought down in the box by a sliding challenge from Lewis Travis, however referee Tim Robinson – without the use of VAR to support him – pointed instead to the corner flag.
Reece James, who made his first start since the opening day of the season following injury, was denied by Leopold Wahlstedt after an inch perfect aerial ball from Enzo Fernandez found the Chelsea captain’s feet a third of the way through the first half.
The right-back was looking the most likely to score for the hosts. He had another effort eight minutes later drag just wide of the far post as Chelsea looked to break the deadlock against the Championship side. Moments later, they continued to knock on the door, Enzo saw a strike from the edge of the area parried away.
Chelsea managed to find their opener, and deservedly so, on the half hour mark through Benoit Badiashile, who was making his return from a hamstring injury that has kept him out since May. Badiashile wheeled away in celebration after calmly slotted home inside the penalty area following a short corner.
Blackburn wanted a penalty nine minutes before the half time interval. Callum Brittain’s cross appeared to strike the arm of Conor Gallagher, but like Chelsea’s claim earlier on in the half, Robinson was having none of it in the capital.
Harry Leonard had a glorious chance to put Blackburn level just 40 seconds into the second half after Badiashile and Axel Disasi were caught napping in defence, but Robert Sanchez was left relieved when the attacker’s effort was tame and went wide.
Raheem Sterling gave Chelsea some breathing space in the 59th minute. He collected the ball and drove just inside the box and curled excellently past Wahlstedt to double the hosts’ advantage.
Shortly after, Pochettino made his first changes of the night as he took off James and goalscorer Badiashile for Malo Gusto and Levi Colwill.
Sterling almost turned from goalscorer to provider as he broke through down the right hand side, but Nicolas Jackson could only fire off target.
Chelsea continued to close the tie out in the capital. Pochettino made two late changes to introduce Alex Matos, his first appearance at Stamford Bridge, and Noni Madueke for Enzo and Cole Palmer.
Sanchez was called into action to ensure he kept his clean sheet after he made a huge save to deny Sigurdsson late on.
The tie was done. It was a fourth win in their last six in all competitions and now they prepare for their quarter-final fate.
Chelsea are now two wins away from their first cup final under Mauricio Pochettino. But next up is Spurs in the Premier League, the start of a tough run for the Blues as they look to climb up the league table.
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