Two goals by Alvaro Morata saw Nottingham Forest eliminated from the FA Cup as holders Chelsea progressed by a 2-0 scoreline at Stamford Bridge, despite a battling performance by the Reds this afternoon.
Forest visited ‘The Bridge’ last season in the third round of the Carabao Cup and were convincingly beaten 5-1, but manager Aitor Karanka claimed before today’s match that his men had belief that they could produce a shock.
As expected, Chelsea saw the majority of the ball in the opening exchanges and they should have taken the lead. A teasing cross from the right found Morata free seven yards out, but he could only direct his header straight at the chest of keeper Luke Steele.
The home side had another chance moments later after being awarded a free kick just outside the Forest area, but Emerson’s left-footed effort went over the bar.
Forest did have a half chance at the other end through Daryl Murphy but the forward’s venomous effort was palmed to safety.
The pressure on the Forest goal continued and Davide Zappacosta’s optimistic effort from range almost looped over Steele after taking a deflection on its way through to goal.
On the half-hour mark, Chelsea were presented with a big opportunity to take the lead as they were gifted a penalty after Danny Fox hacked down Ruben Loftus-Cheek inside the area. Cesc Fabregas stepped up to take it but his poor effort to Steele’s right was brilliantly pushed around the post to keep the score at 0-0.
Forest had been resolute in their defence during the first half but they were unable to keep the hosts out for much longer as Chelsea went ahead early in the second half.
Callum Hudson-Odoi got past Saidy Janko on the right and his whipped ball across the face of goal was converted by Morata.
Forest went up the other end and responded with two efforts on goal.
First, Guedioura saw his curling effort saved by Willy Caballero before the Chelsea keeper then easily dealt with Daryl Murphy’s header after a pinpoint Matty Cash cross.
Morata was having a mixed afternoon and that continued as he missed an empty net, before scoring his and Chelsea’s second a minute later.
He should have scored in the 58th minute as Ross Barkley’s pass found him three yards out but the Spanish striker somehow managed to scoop the ball over the bar.
He made amends for that shocking miss seconds later, however, as he rose highest in the box to head Hudson-Odoi’s cross into the corner of the net.
The hosts had one foot in the next round and were looking to see the game out.
They did almost add another goal as Hazard played Hudson-Odoi clear on the right, but the youngster saw his low, fizzed effort held by Steele.
CHELSEA: Caballero, Fabregas (Kante 85), Barkley, Loftus-Cheek (Hazard 42), Hudson-Odoi, Zappacosta, Christensen, Morata (Azpilicueta 75), Luiz, Emerson, Ampadu. SUBS NOT USED: Arrizabalaga , Rudiger, Jorginho, Moses.
FOREST (4-2-3-1): Steele; Darikwa, Yacob, Fox, Janko; Guedioura, Colback; Cash (Lolley 57), Carvalho, Osborn; Murphy. SUBS NOT USED: Smith , Robinson, Yates, Dias, Appiah, Ahmedhodzic.
REFEREE: Andrew Madley.