- Chelsea eased past Luton Town to secure a place in the FA Cup quarter-finals with a 2-3 win.
- The Blues had to come from behind twice in the match to secure the win at Luton Town.
- The match came just minutes after owner Roman Abramovich announced he is selling Chelsea amidst the Russian-Ukraine invasion.
Romelu Lukaku scored the winner to earn Chelsea a place in the FA Cup quarter-finals with a battling 3-2 win at Luton Town after Blues owner Roman Abramovich announced he was selling the club an hour before the match.
Abramovich confirmed he had put Chelsea up for sale, saying the decision is “in the best interest of the club” before kick-off and Thomas Tuchel’s side started slowly on the pitch on Wednesday.
Scoring his first-ever Chelsea goal, Saul Niguez cancelled out Reece Burke’s second-minute opener against a much-changed Blues side, but Harry Cornick restored Championship side Luton’s lead in the first half at Kenilworth Road.
Timo Werner equalised after the interval, before teeing up Lukaku with 12 minutes left to ensure Chelsea’s place in the last eight, which will be played on March 19.
Burke glanced a header into the top-right corner from Luke Berry’s corner after just 102 seconds – the fastest goal Chelsea has conceded in all competitions this season.
Tuchel’s side levelled things up after 27 minutes when the ball fell kindly for Saul to curl into the bottom-right corner before substitute goalkeeper Harry Isted expertly denied Saul, Kenedy and Romelu Lukaku within a frantic four-minute period.
Luton regained the lead after Malang Sarr’s unconvincing offside trap allowed Cornick in to finish past Kepa Arrizabalaga following Carlos Mendes Gomes’ through-ball.
Chelsea boasted 82 per cent possession in the first 15 minutes after the interval, but their reward did not arrive until the 68th minute when Werner poked past Isted after a superb Ruben Loftus-Cheek long pass.
Werner turned provider for the winning goal when he found space inside the area and drilled across for Lukaku to apply the finish with a sliding tap-in.
Chelsea, who had won just one of their last 13 visits to Luton, were unconvincing and conceded more than one goal in the first half for just the third time this season, having previously done so against Zenit and Liverpool.
But Tuchel’s European champions recovered after the break as Luton failed to register a second-half attempt at goal after producing five in the first period.
The win kept Chelsea in contention for domestic silverware this season, after faltering in the EFL Cup final against Liverpool on Sunday.
Lukaku has come under scrutiny in recent weeks following an underwhelming performance against Crystal Palace and was subsequently dropped for clashes with Lille and Liverpool.
However, he delivered the crucial strike in the closing stages with his 15th goal in the FA Cup – since the striker’s first goal in the competition in March 2014, no player has scored more times (joint-level with Kelechi Iheanacho, 15).
Loftus-Cheek slotted into an unfamiliar centre-back position, flanked by Sarr and Antonio Rudiger as part of Tuchel’s three-man defence, and showed his versatility as he made a team-high two clearances (level with Reece James and Saul).
The England international was one of Chelsea’s brightest creative sparks as well, despite playing at the back, as he registered game-leading figures for touches (105) and successful passes (80), one of which was his impressive assist for Werner.
Chelsea who find out their quarter-final opponent on Thursday, return to Premier League action at Burnley on Saturday, when Luton visit Middlesbrough in the Championship.