On Monday, Chelsea defeated Manchester United 1-0 in the FA Cup quarter-final thanks to a game winner that came from N’Golo Kante in the 51st minute. The man of the match rifled home a long-distance effort to see off 10-man United, who had Ander Herrera dismissed in the first half after a clumsy challenge on Eden Hazard. The goal secured another miserable Stamford bridge visit for former Chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho, with Kante also scoring in that 4-0 Premier League drubbing earlier this year.
“I’m happy to score again,” Kante told BBC Sport. “I’m happy for the win and for the fans it was a very beautiful win. It was was difficult, Manchester is a good team, it was a tough game but we won. When Herrera was sent off it was more easy. It’s a pleasure to go to the next round, hopefully we can go to the final and see who we are going to play.” Chelsea defender Gary Cahill also praised Kante on his effort saying “N’Golo has been fantastic, you saw what he did last season but he has kicked on again this season. He is so important, especially to us at the back.” Chelsea will now take on Tottenham in the semi-final as they are in striking distance of winning both the Premier League title and the FA Cup.
It was a tough night for Manchester United seeing that their best player Zlatan Ibrahimovic could not play due to a three ban given to him for elbowing Tyrone Mings in a match against AFC Bournemouth last week. Jose Mourinho’s game plan revolved around stopping Chelsea’s star player Eden Hazard even it meant fouling him hard. Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte, was not pleased by this, calling for Hazard to receive protection from officials. It is a call Mourinho has made previously, when he was Chelsea manager. It came to a point where the two got into a nasty spat on the touchline that had to be broken up by the assistant referee. Conte said after the match “For Hazard, for 20, 25 minutes it was impossible to play football, because he received only kicks,” A tactic to play and go to kick an opponent? It’s not football for me. “I don’t think I’m crazy and I see only him in this situation. “Sometimes when you play against players with great talent, you try to intimidate those players. “The referee must protect these type of players. When they go out with a bad injury… It’s very dangerous to receive a kick from the back.”
Conte did not see the incident which saw United defender Marcos Rojo apparently tread on Hazard’s back as the Chelsea forward was falling to the turf. Rojo could face retrospective action from the Football Association. Mourinho’s comments on Herrera’s dismissal by referee Michael Oliver were laced with sarcasm. “I think we all watched the match until the red card and after the red card and then we can compare the decision of the two yellow cards in this case with other ones that were not given, but I don’t want to go in that direction. Mr. Michael Oliver- a referee with fantastic potential. Manchester United were a bit unlucky. In four matches, three penalties and one red card in such an early moment of the game but again I cannot change that. Mr Oliver goes home and he can do his own analysis, because I don’t want to analyse his work.” These many exchanges between managers and referees have created a whole new rivalry between Chelsea and Manchester United that will only keep getting better and better.