Derby County’s impressive Carabao Cup run came to an abrupt halt on Wednesday night as Chelsea delivered a stiff knockout blow on Frank Lampard’s grand return to Stamford Bridge.
As you might expect, Lampard was afforded a hero’s welcome as he took his seat in the dugout before kick-off, with the Blues fans giving their all-time top goalscorer a rousing standing ovation.
The generosity was obviously contagious, as the away side soon gifted their hosts the lead just four minutes in – Fikayo Tomori, on loan at Derby from Chelsea, making a horrible hash of a fairly routine clearance and sending the ball trundling into his own net off his standing leg…
However, Chelsea then re-returned the favour again five minutes later by overplaying the ball in their own half, losing possession and watching on as Jack Marriott raced through to score a quick equaliser…
A full 21 minutes had passed before the next goal flew in, with a fluffed clearance once again leading a Derby defender, namely Richard Keogh, to put through his own net in embarrassing fashion…
The breathless action continued thereafter, with Lampard’s effusive side clawing back parity once again as Martyn Waghorn sprinted in to tap a low Mason Mount (also on loan from Chelsea) cross home from close range, all inside the first half-an-hour.
With the first half in danger of getting a bit silly, Cesc Fabregas then drilled home what would prove to be Chelsea’s winning goal a few minutes before the interval.
Derby fans singing 'shall we score a goal for you' Chelsea fans reply with 'Derby Derby, give us a goal'.
Football humour at its best.#CHEDER
— Mark Worrall (@gate17marco) 31 October 2018
The second half petered out a little in comparison to its predecessor, but Derby still managed to come within centimetres of a third equaliser when substitute David Nugent hit the inside of the post only to see the ricochet nestle fortuitously in the arms of Willy Caballero.
So, lucky as they may have been, it’s Maurizio Sarri’s mob that go moseying into the quarter-finals as the Italian coach remains in the hunt for the first major(ish) trophy of his relatively brief managerial career.