N’Golo Kante’s second-half strike helped Chelsea squeeze past 10-man Manchester United 1-0 at Stamford Bridge, and book their place in the FA Cup semi-final.
Ander Herrera was sent off for two bookable offenses in the first half, with both yellows coming within the space of 15 minutes for challenges on Eden Hazard.
Kante opened the scoring with his second goal of the season, striking a low effort beyond David de Gea, who had kept Chelsea at bay with a string of impressive saves.
Manchester United started the match positively but it was Chelsea who carved out a couple of great opportunities to break the deadlock.
The first chance came after a moment of brilliance from Hazard, who turned Chris Smalling before bursting into the box, but he saw his deflected effort turned round the post by De Gea.
From the resulting corner, Gary Cahill held off Matteo Darmian to bring down the cross, but his low effort from 10 yards out was superbly parried away by the strong palm of the Manchester United goalkeeper.
United’s evening got tougher as Herrera was sent off after 35 minutes, with both yellows being issued for late tackles on Hazard.
That red lit the blue torch paper at Stamford Bridge, with Antonio Conte and Jose Mourinho then having to be separated by the fourth official following Antonio Valencia’s challenge on Marcos Alonso.
Chelsea took the lead six minutes after the break through Kante, who rifled home from 20 yards to score only his second goal of the season – the first came at home against United in their 4-0 Premier League win.
Marcus Rashford almost levelled from a chance all of his own making, but after turning Cahill inside and out he was denied by the feet of Thibaut Courtois.
Following that reprieve, Chelsea turned the screw and went close through Diego Costa and a couple of Willian chances.
A half-chance then fell Paul Pogba’s way with under 10 minutes to go, but the France international shot wide before Cesc Fabregas was denied by De Gea late on.