Middlesbrough 0 Chelsea 2
Chelsea, up at the Riverside Stadium, edged past Middlesbrough to secure a quarter final tie, at Old Trafford, against Manchester United on Sunday 10th March.
Team News - For this 5th round FA Cup tie Rafa Benitez certainly shuffled his pack. There was a first start for Nathan Ake, Paulo Ferreira made a rare appearance at right back, Ryan Bertrand was given a left-back start whilst Yossi Benayoun was given a midfield berth with Fernando Torres leading the line, leaving the bench looking especially strong with Ashley Cole, David Luiz, Frank Lampard, Eden Hazard and Demba Ba all keeping their backsides warm. All in all Rafa made eight changes to the side that lost at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
First Half - At a noisy Riverside Stadium, he Middlsbrough fans believed they could spring a cup shock and Chelsea`s first half performance gave them further belief. But it was Chelsea that almost edged ahead, early on, but Victor Moses couldn`t quite get on the end of a swift counter-attack.
Torres almost set up Benayoun but the ex-Liverpool pair couldn`t get a final touch to his low cross. Oscar should have opened the scoring for Chelsea, latching on to a ball from Moses, but the Brazilian stabbed his shot too tamely and the chance was gone.
Middlesbrough had a decent chance when Ramires conceded possession but when the home side delivered a decent cross Scott MacDonald rose perfectly but placed his header wide. Middlesbrough were starting to have a little more possession as Chelsea sat back.
Just before half time, the home side could have edged ahead, Mustapha Carayol cut inside his marker and his shot was unconvincingly dealt with by Cech but Terry was on hand to stab the ball clear.
Second Half - Chelsea started the second half better and six minutes into the half finally edged ahead through a combination of Ramires and Torres. Benayoun`s loose ball wasn`t cleared properly and when it fell to Ramires the Brazilian`s shot deflected off of the shoulder of Torres to beat Steele, in the Middlesbrough goal.
A goal to the good, Chelsea were to double that lead, putting the game out of Middlesbrough`s reach, in the seventy third minute when Eden Hazard, on as a second half substitute, ran away from a tired looking defence to square the ball for Moses too tap home.
There could have been a third goal but Oscar shot wide after a sweet exchange of passes with Hazard. Middlesbrough almost got a consolation goal late on but Bailey`s header, at the back post, hit the side-netting.
Chelsea: Cech, Ferreira, Ivanovic, Terry, Bertrand, Ake, Ramires, Moses (Luiz-76), Oscar (Marin-79), Benayoun (Hazard-58), Torres.
Unused Subs: Turnbull, Cole, Lampard, Ba.
Chelsea Scorers - Ramires (51), Moses (73)
Chelsea Yellow Cards - Nil
Chelsea Red Cards - Nil