Chelsea remained firmly on course for a domestic Double as N’Golo Kante’s second-half winner settled a stormy FA Cup quarter-final meeting with Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.
United manager Jose Mourinho was involved in touchline clashes with opposite number Antonio Conte and was verbally abused by Chelsea fans at the scene of many of his triumphs, including three titles.
The Portuguese was furious when midfielder Ander Herrera was sent off 10 minutes before half-time after a second foul on Eden Hazard, and the managers were kept apart moments later after Marcos Alonso tumbled to the floor after being brought down.
Kante’s low 51st-minute drive finally beat defiant United keeper David de Gea, who saved superbly from Hazard and Gary Cahill before the break to keep Mourinho’s side in contention before Chelsea made the breakthrough.
Marcus Rashford, who came off his sick bed to play – with Zlatan Ibrahimovic suspended, and Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial injured, created United’s best chance for himself but Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois saved with his feet to set up a semi-final against Tottenham at Wembley.
Conte outflanks Mourinho again
Mourinho’s first return to Stamford Bridge after he was sacked as Chelsea manager ended in humiliation with a 4-0 defeat in October – and every piece of his body language here spoke of a man intent on putting matters right.
He was pacing his technical area from the first whistle, applauding, imploring and cajoling his team, stripped of talisman Ibrahimovic as well as Rooney and Martial.
With Mourinho in fired-up and combative mood, it was almost inevitable he would clash with his equally passionate and animated Stamford Bridge successor.
The flashpoint came seconds after Herrera’s sending-off. Mourinho, still simmering, felt Alonso had dived, the Portuguese exploding in fury – soon to be joined by Conte in a head-to-head bout of bad blood that ended with the pair being separated and, in boxing parlance, being sent to their corners by fourth official Mike Jones.
Man of the match – N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)