FA Cup

Middlesbrough 0-2 Chelsea: Player ratings as Blues cruise into FA Cup semi-finals

Krishan Davis
Chelsea cruised into the semi-finals
Chelsea cruised into the semi-finals / OLI SCARFF/GettyImages
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Chelsea cruised into the FA Cup semi-finals with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday.

The visitors avoided an upset against the side who knocked Tottenham and Man Utd out in previous rounds - that despite being confronted with a partisan Riverside Stadium, having only managed to sell a fraction of their ticket allocation before the government imposed sanctions on club owner Roman Abramovich.

Having navigated a few difficult spells, Chelsea found themselves two goals up and cruising by half-time.

Mason Mount posed a constant threat and his low cross almost provided an early goal for Christian Pulisic, but the American couldn't reach the ball on the stretch. Mount repeated the trick after a quarter of an hour at the end of a fine passing move from back to front, and this time Romelu Lukaku was on hand to tap home.

The Blues then allowed Boro back into the game by giving the ball away and committing needless fouls in dangerous areas. But Thomas Tuchel's side weathered the mini-storm and hit on the break, with Hakim Ziyech blasting a strike into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

Chelsea thought they had the tie wrapped up nine minutes before half-time when Lukaku rounded Joe Lumley and side-footed a low finish towards the inside of the near post, but he was brilliantly denied by Anfernee Dijksteel on the goal line.

The second half passed largely without incident until a flurry of chances in the final 15 minutes. First, Lumley reacted well to save substitute Timo Werner's header after another good delivery from Mount, and the German should have scored again with ten minutes to go but his effort was expertly blocked by veteran Sol Bamba.

Josh Coburn - the hero of the previous round for Boro - almost nabbed a consolation, but his firm strike from the angle was beaten away by Edouard Mendy.

Here's how the players rated as Chelsea progressed to the FA Cup semi-finals...


Middlesbrough player ratings - FA Cup

1. Goalkeeper & defenders

Christian Pulisic, Anfernee Dijksteel
Dijksteel chases the ball / Naomi Baker/GettyImages

Joe Lumley (GK) - 4/10 - Couldn't cut out the cross for the opener. Perhaps should have done better with Ziyech's strike but there was plenty of movement on the ball. Good save to stop Werner's header.

Anfernee Dijksteel (CB) - 7/10 - Incredible goal-line clearance to deny Lukaku a surefire brace. Boro's best player by some distance, making a heap of recoveries.

Paddy McNair (CB) - 4/10 - Struggled with his passing and lost two of his three aerial duels before being forced off injured early in the second half.

Dael Fry (CB) - 4/10 - Wasn't having a very enjoyable game before being taken off at half-time.

2. Wing-backs & midfielders

Isaiah Jones, Christian Pulisic
Isaiah Jones hits the deck / Naomi Baker/GettyImages

Isaiah Jones (RWB) - 6/10 - Very bright going forward, causing Malang Sarr some real problems. Some dazzling dribbling.

Matt Crooks (CM) - 5/10 - Battled with varying degrees of success. His passing lacked somewhat.

Jonny Howson (CM) - 5/10 - Scrapped and didn't give Ruben Loftus-Cheek a moment's peace for a period. Seemed to run out of steam.

Marcus Tavernier (CM) - 6/10 - The tidiest of Boro's midfielders and battled well.

Neil Taylor (LWB) - 5/10 - Struggled against the guile of Ziyech. Subbed.

3. Forwards

Folarin Balogun (ST) - 4/10 - Skied a rare half-chance. Subbed after making minimal impact in difficult circumstances.

Aaron Connolly (ST) - 3/10 - Not nearly involved enough and subbed shortly before the hour mark.

4. Substitutes

Sol Bamba (CB) - 6/10 - Excellent block to deny Werner, and showed some nifty footwork later on.

Lee Peltier (CB) - 5/10 - On for the injured Paddy McNair.

Mark Bola (LWB) - 5/10 - Got into a couple of decent positions, but to no avail.

Duncan Watmore (ST) - 5/10 - Lifted a half-chance over the bar.

Josh Coburn (ST) - 6/10 - Put himself about and made something of a difference. Perhaps should have been deployed earlier. Forced Mendy into pretty much his only save.


Chelsea player ratings - FA Cup

5. Goalkeeper & defenders

Cesar Azpilicueta
Azpilicueta plays the ball / Naomi Baker/GettyImages

Edouard Mendy (GK) - 6/10 - A surprise starter ahead of usual cup keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga. Sound when called upon.

Cesar Azpilicueta (RB) - 6/10 - Drifted inside and provided another body in midfield. Solid as usual.

Thiago Silva (CB) - 7/10 - Watchful as ever and passed wonderfully. Even involved in the build-up to the opener.

Antonio Rudiger (CB) - 6/10 - Actually lost most of his duels but was good enough with the ball at his feet. Did make plenty of recoveries.

Malang Sarr (LB) - 5/10 - Overzealous at times, finding Isaiah Jones a tricky customer. Lost four out of five ground duels.

6. Midfielders

FBL-ENG-FACUP-MIDDLESBROUGH-CHELSEA
Mount was man of the match / OLI SCARFF/GettyImages

Mateo Kovacic (CM) - 5/10 - Workmanlike. Would have expected to have more control in midfield. Subbed.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek (CM) - 6/10 - Almost got himself in a costly tangle in the first half but recovered. Caught in possession again soon after. Much improved after the break as his ball carries got Chelsea up the pitch.

Mason Mount (AM) - 8/10 - Influential. Drifted wide and caused problems with his deliveries - including a perfect low cross for Lukaku. Picked up a second first-half assist with a simple ball to Ziyech, too.

7. Forwards

FBL-ENG-FACUP-MIDDLESBROUGH-CHELSEA
Lukaku couldn't miss / OLI SCARFF/GettyImages

Hakim Ziyech (RW) - 7/10 - Bright and intelligent. Involved in the build-up to the first and smashed the second across the keeper and into the bottom corner - the perfect birthday present.

Romelu Lukaku (ST) - 7/10 - An early tap-in having hardly been involved. Thought he had a second when he rounded the keeper, but denied. Good hold-up play but quiet after the break.

Christian Pulisic (LW) - 6/10 - Would have scored early on if he was an inch taller. Spritely but faded somewhat before being subbed.

8. Substitutes

Timo Werner (LW) - 6/10 - Denied two goals, first by a good save and then by an excellent block. Looked a threat.

N'Golo Kante (CM) - 6/10 - Got on the ball and did the job expected of him without fuss.

Kenedy (RW) - N/A

Harvey Vale (ST) - N/A


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