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Published: 10:27 | 12/1/16

Chelsea ease past stubborn Iron

Goals from Diego Costa and Ruben Loftus-Cheek earned Chelsea a 2-0 win over Scunthorpe United in the FA Cup third round at Stamford Bridge.

The Brazilian opened the scoring early on Guus Hiddink’s side as they dominated the first period without creating too many clearcut opportunities against their League One opponents.

Mark Robins sent his side out after the break on the front foot and their energetic display began to push back and worry the Premier League champions.

The Iron should have had a spot-kick when Ramires bundled over Van Veen but the referee was unmoved.

Within minutes substitute Loftus-Cheek doubled the hosts’ lead when firing home from eight yards to put distance between the sides.

That goal killed off Scunthorpe’s brave challenge and Chelsea march on to the next round.

Chelsea’s strong line-up indicated they were eager to avoid any chance of being on the end of an upset as they were last year when League Two Bradford City stunned them 4-2 in the FA Cup at Stamford Bridge and they were ahead early on.

Branislav Ivanovic whipped in a cross from the right and Costa managed to muscle his way in between two defenders to force the ball home in to the corner of the goal. Although the ball last went off a Scunthorpe defender, Costa was rightly credited with the crucial touch.

The hosts looked to end the game as a contest as quickly as possible and the visitors’ goalkeeper Luke Daniels produced two quality saves from Cesc Fabregas and Oscar respectively.

Scunthorpe offered little going forward in the first period, seemingly content to keep the deficit to a minimum, although Kurt Zouma was needed to make a sliding challenge to deny Luke Williams a shooting opportunity from close range.

After the break however, they began to push more bodies forward looking for a way back into the game.

They thought they may have had it when Ramires challenged Kevin Van Veen in the box, sending the Scunthorpe man to the floor without touching the ball. However, referee Craig Pawson waved play on to the visitors’ consternation.

The hosts began to look a little nervy with the lower league side showing more aggression and pushing higher up the pitch.

However, on 68 minutes Loftus-Cheek made a great run into the box and Cesar Azpilicueta’s cutback found him perfectly, the midfielder finishing clinically to make it 2-0.

The away supporters thought they had grabbed one back when Van Veen’s free-kick flew into the side-netting and minutes from the end Clarke smashed a fierce drive off the post but they were unable to get the consolation their efforts merited.

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