Emirates FA Cup, Football

Chelsea vs Leeds: Gallagher scores last gasp winner to keep Blues hopes alive for silverware

Chelsea defeated Leeds 3-2 in a thrilling match to avenge their Carabao Cup final loss, and Conor Gallagher’s 90th-minute winner secured Chelsea’s FA Cup quarterfinal matchup with Leicester at Stamford Bridge.

After their exciting Friday night victory over Championship promotion rivals Leicester, Leeds made a strong impression on west London. Within eight minutes of their arrival, they had shown Chelsea’s weakness after their extra-time loss to Liverpool; Mateo Joseph scored his first goal as a senior when he took advantage of an error made by Axel Disasi in his own box.

After losing at Wembley, Chelsea were called bottlejobs, but they battled back with deft build-up play that put Nicolas Jackson and Mykhailo Mudryk in positions to win the match.

But Leeds were far from over. The second half saw Daniel Farke’s team gain momentum as Chelsea appeared to back off. Joseph doubled his score when the excellent Jaidon Anthony crossed the ball for him.

Soon after, Leeds’ youthful attacker had another excellent header, but Chelsea would deal the game’s decisive blow. Gallagher’s turn and finish were outstanding, while Enzo Fernandez’s strong run created the opening. The Chelsea supporters cheered with delight.

Their season endures, as does their dream of a trophy.

Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino: “We needed this result. It wasn’t a great performance. [Leeds is] a team full of confidence, very, very strong team doing fantastic in the Championship. The character we showed after [the early goal] is something to learn for the team.

“In the end I’m so happy. It’s always tough when you lose a final in extra-time and 72 hours or less to recover was difficult, but today the effort was massive again and I have to say thank you to the players.”

Leeds boss Daniel Farke: “Congratulations to Chelsea. We are disappointed we lost this game. I know it’s not realistic we as a Championship side will win the FA Cup but I wanted to go into the next round. We played a really good side with many top-class players and we were excellent.

“In the second half more possession, shots on goal, more expected goals, I think… I would have preferred to go to extra-time because the gut feeling was we had the chance to win this game. I’m pretty proud of what my lads did.

“Although we lost the game, [the supporters] celebrated the young guys after this game because the level of performance and commitment was definitely excellent.”

Chelsea travel to neighbours Brentford on Saturday while Leeds travel to Huddersfield on the same day.


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