Pedro came off the bench to grab an extra-time winner and send Chelsea through to the FA Cup semi-finals with a 2-1 win at Leicester City.
The former Barcelona winger capitalised on some poor goalkeeping from Kasper Schmeichel to nod home N’Golo Kante’s cross in the 105th minute and end the Foxes’ hopes of a place at Wembley.
Earlier, Jamie Vardy’s second-half equaliser had cancelled out Alvaro Morata’s first goal since Boxing Day to send an entertaining tie beyond the 90 minutes.
Although Chelsea boss Antonio Conte said beforehand the FA Cup was “not important” to him on a personal level, it now represents the best chance of silverware for the soon-to-be dethroned Premier League champions and his strong starting XI reflected that.
Despite that it was Leicester who started the better, Marc Albrighton firing Danny Simpson’s right-wing cross narrowly past the right-hand post.
But Chelsea gradually found a foothold, thanks largely to Kante’s intelligent promptings against his former club while wing-backs Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso were finding plenty of space down the flanks.
Wilfred Ndidi forced Willy Caballero into a fine save down to his right after 20 minutes but the visitors looked the more assured in possession.
Morata had already fired straight at Schmeichel from the edge of the box before he finally ended his goal drought three minutes before the break.
Willian led a swift counter attack before slipping a delightful through ball to the former Juventus man and he showed a cool head to clip past Schmeichel and into the net.
@AlvaroMorata‘s 42nd-minute strike is the difference at the break!
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) March 18, 2018
Leicester came out strongly after the break and Riyad Mahrez could have levelled within two minutes, his 45-yard attempt following a poor clearance from Caballero drifting wide of goal.
Vardy then skewed a header off-target when completely unmarked eight yards out but he was not to be denied with 15 minutes to go.
Mahrez was the architect with a run and cross down the right flank that caused chaos inside Chelsea’s six-yard box. Vardy and Vicente Iborra saw shots blocked before the latter forced another effort on goal. Caballero made a smart save low to his left but the loose ball fell nicely for Vardy to power into the net.
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