Enzo Fernandez scored his first Chelsea goal as we came from behind to progress to the third round of the Carabao Cup with a hard-fought victory against AFC Wimbledon.
With 20 minutes remaining and the match tied at 1-1, the substitute calmly spotted the bottom corner of an empty net from distance following a mistake in the Wimbledon backline.
The first half was marked by two penalties. James Tilley gave Wimbledon the lead following a foul Robert Sanchezand we had to wait until just before the break to equalize. Noni Madueke was too quick and skilful for the Don’s defence, and he made no mistake from the spot to score his first at the Bridge.
Mauricio Pochettino made seven changes to his Chelsea team, making his debut at Diego Moreiraa home start for Bashir Humphreysand made its full debut on Mason Burstow, Lesley Ugochukwu And Ian Maatsen.
Back to start
Chelsea enjoyed most of the possession early on, but Wimbledon’s threat from set pieces is well known, and it was through this route that they took a surprise lead. Sanchez caught Harry Pell attempting a wide free kick, and Tilley crushed his penalty in the middle 19 minutes into the game.
In response, Maatsen hit the side-netting with a deflected shot, but our frustration would continue until half-time. Madueke, taking matters into his own hands, raced past his full-back in front of the West Stand before charging into the box. He beat another defender, then danced around Dons skipper Alex Pearce, who could only mow down the winger.
Noni on site
It was all Madueke’s fault and so he deserved to take the penalty, coolly sending Alex Bass the wrong way for his first Blues goal at home.
Pochettino presented Nicholas Jackson for Moreira at half-time and the Senegalese striker was immediately in the action, stinging Bass’s palms with a rising strike. Gallagher was the next to be denied by the keeper.
Axel Disasi had to stretch to block bustling Wimbledon sub Ali Al-Hamadi, but for the most part it was still Chelsea. Enzo Fernandezcame on midway through the second half, made a flying save from Bass with a deflected long ranger.
The Argentine’s first goal at Chelsea was imminent, however. Maatsen chased down a long ball and his perseverance paid off as he forced an error; Bass’ release ricochets off him and lands on Enzo. He calmly touched the ball before passing the ball into the unguarded net from 20 yards out.
Madueke shot too close to Bass at the end of a quick Blues counter-attack as we looked to end the tie once and for all. With five minutes remaining, Maatsen and Enzo saw curling efforts diverted around the post by the increasingly busy Bass.
There was a final scare when Al-Hamadi briefly broke free but found Disasi in his way. The Blues had to work hard to achieve this, but our 100th League Cup match at the Bridge ended in victory.
What this means…
We play a third round tie at home to Brighton in the week commencing September 25.
What happens next…
The Blues return to the Bridge on Saturday when we welcome Nottingham Forest to SW6 for our final match before the September international break.
chelsea (4-2-3-1): Sanchez; Humphreys, Disasi, Colwill (Gusto 65), Cucurella; Gallagher (c), Ugochukwu; Madueke (Caicedo 81), Maatsen, Moreira (Jackson h/t); Burst (Enzo 65)
Unused subscribers Petrovic, Bergstrom, Samuels-Smith, Thiago SilvaChilwell
Scorers Madueke 45+1, Enzo 72
Reserve Maatsen 88
AFC Wimbledon (4-2-3-1): Bass; Ogundere, Lewis, Pearce (c) (Brown 56), Johnson; Williams, Ball; Tilley (McLean 88), Pell (Bugiel 78), Neufville (Sasu 78); Davison (Al-Hamadi 56)
Unused subscribers Tzanev, Lock, Sutcliffe, Jennings
Scorer Tilley (pen) 19
Reserve Pearce 47, Pell 51
Arbitrator Tony Harrington