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Tuesday, 18 February, 2003, 18:29 GMT
Chelsea sink brave Stoke
Chelsea's players congratulate scorer Hasselbaink
Chelsea's players congratulate scorer Hasselbaink
Stoke City 0-2 Chelsea

Chelsea stayed on course for a second successive FA Cup Final appearance after battling past Stoke City at The Britannia Stadium.

Claudio Ranieri's side are desperate to make up for the disappointment of losing to London rivals Arsenal in the showpiece at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium last May.

And the possibility of a repeat encounter with the Gunners is still alive after second half goals from Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and substitute Jesper Gronkjaer ended the challenge of the First Division underdogs.

Stoke's energy gave Chelsea a run for their money - but class ultimately told in the fifth round tie and Chelsea moved smoothly into quarter-finals.

Chelsea were without Marcel Desailly and Gianfranco Zola through injury - and needed all their resolve to survive a rousing first 45 minutes from Stoke.

Chelsea punished us like the very good side they are

Stoke City manager Tony Pulis
Lewis Neal had Stoke's best opportunity after only eight minutes, but he was unable to control an inviting chance and was well off target.

Chelsea threatened to silence the noisy home fans with occasional moments of class, with Hasselbaink touching Graeme Le Saux's cross wide.

Enrique de Lucas almost gave Chelsea the lead after 32 minutes when he tried his luck from long range and was only inches away.

Mario Stanic is beaten by Wayne Thomas
Mario Stanic is beaten by Wayne Thomas

But Chelsea struck after 51 minutes, and it was Hasselbaink who displayed his opportunism to break the deadlock.

Le Saux's cross was inadvertently deflected into the Dutchman's pass by Marcus Hall, and Hasselbaink exploited his good fortune to beat Steve Banks from close range.

Chelsea almost doubled their advantage 15 minutes later when Eidur Gudjohnsen's shot had Steve Banks diving low to his right to save.

Stoke wasted a chance to equalise with 18 minutes left when James O'Connor broke into space inside Chelsea's penalty box but shot wastefully over the top.

And Chelsea made Stoke pay three minutes later when substitute Gronkjaer, on for De Lucas, effectively ended the contest.

Gudjohnsen brilliantly released Gronkjaer, and he demonstrated pace and power before beating Banks at his near post with a fierce drive.


Stoke: Banks, Thomas, Handyside, Shtanuk, Marcus Hall, Henry (Gudjonsson 56), O'Connor, Gunnarsson, Neal (Marteinsson 79), Iwelumo, Greenacre (Goodfellow 79).
Subs not used: Cutler, Wilson.

Booked: Marcus Hall.

Chelsea: Cudicini, Melchiot, Terry, Gallas, Le Saux, Stanic (Cole 87), Lampard, Petit (Huth 84), De Lucas (Gronkjaer 61), Hasselbaink, Gudjohnsen.
Subs not used: Evans, Zenden.

Attendance: 26,615

Referee: R Styles (Hampshire).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Ian Brown
"More evidence Chelsea's soft centre has all but disappeared"
BBC Radio Stoke's Phil Bowers
"A performance unbefitting Stoke City's league status"
Stoke City manager Tony Pulis
"We've had a go today"

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16 Feb 03 | FA Cup
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