Chelsea 2 Plymouth 1. Kepa late penalty save sees Chelsea progress in the FA CUP
Chelsea needed extra-time heroics from Kepa Arrizabalaga to knock Plymouth out of the FA Cup on Saturday.
The 6,000 travelling Plymouth fans were thrilled to an early goal as Macaulay Gillesphey avoided Romelu Lukaku’s tagging to put the League One side ahead in the blazing West London Saturday sun.
Mateo Kovacic struck the crossbar seconds later after scoring only eight minutes into a contest that the hosts had began to control.
Plymouth took heart from the goal, but Chelsea quickly asserted themselves, with Callum Hudson-Odoi headed against the crossbar before Kovacic struck the woodwork with a rasping shot.
After 40 minutes, Cesar Azpilicueta equalized with a brilliant backheel after sprinting into the area to meet a low cross.
In the second half, Chelsea continued to apply pressure despite the absence of manager Thomas Tuchel, but were unable to make Michael Cooper work in the Plymouth goal. Lukaku had a goal open after a low cross from Hakim Ziyech, but the Belgian was a yard behind the pass.
Before Mason Mount forced Cooper into a wonderful reaction save, substitute Ryan Hardie got a rare look of goal. The valiant defence deserved at least another 30 minutes to resolve the draw.
Chelsea broke through in first-half stoppage time, with Marcos Alonso finishing off a lovely play to keep the Blues in the tournament and provide some much-needed respite.
Malang Sarr took the ball away and bundled down Ryan Hardie in the area in the 117th minute, giving Plymouth a penalty.
The striker took it alone and watched Kepa Arrizabalaga stop a feeble attempt.