Chelsea and Norwich City played out a dramatic FA Cup third round replay clash at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night, with the Blues seeing two men sent off before ultimately beating the Canaries on penalties.
After train delays saw kick-off delayed by 15 minutes, the ensuing first 90 minutes of the tie saw the hosts struggle to break down their Championship opponents, with Angus Gunn in the Norwich goal making several superb saves.
Chelsea would eventually take the lead on 55 minutes, with the slap-dash Michy Batshuayi finally justifying his place in the starting XI by converting a Kenedy centre from close-range.
Oh, and wingback Kennedy also pulled off this bit of elastico magic in the first-half – perhaps a tribute to the recently retired Ronaldinho?
— Ricky Burford (@RICKY93JB) January 17, 2018
Soon after, Pedro picked up the first of three Chelsea bookings for simulation, after a dreadful dive in the Norwich box.
— Grant Koston (@GrantKoston) January 17, 2018
Antonio Conte’s side looked to have booked their place in the fourth round, only for Jamal Lewis to head home a dramatic 94th-minute equaliser with the very last touch of normal time.
Only two minutes into extra-time, the Blues picked up their second caution for diving, with Willian going into the book.
— 433 (@By433) January 17, 2018
However, the Brazilian was clearly clipped but video official Mike Jones somehow didn’t view the the decision to be a big enough error to review the incident at length, leaving Graham Scott’s booking to stand.
In the second period of extra-time, Pedro was then sent off after picking up a second yellow in a thoroughly odd 30 minutes of madness.
The dives and the red cards would continue, with Alvaro Morata booked by Scott for simulation at the death, before the Spaniard’s mouth got him sent off moments thereafter.
After all that drama, the subsequent penalty shoot-out would ultimately see Chelsea progress, with Norwich’s Nelson Oliveira the only player to fail to score, courtesy of a Willy Caballero save.
Phew! What a crazy, crazy game! Injury-time equalisers, two red cards, frantic action and enough diving to feed a small army.
After last night’s VAR success in giving Kelechi Iheanacho his second goal for Leicester against Fleetwood, tonight’s questionable decision will continue to fuel the debate about the new-fangled system.