Kante’s Strike Was Enough To See Chelsea Through
It was a night of win! win!! win!!! for Ngolo Kante. The midfielder who put up a man of the match performance, was outstanding for the whole duration of the match. From winning the battle in the midfield against his fellow countryman Paul Pogba to the strike that put Chelsea through to the semi final stage of the competition.
The hidden talents of a remarkable player pop up on a weekly basis. No unsung hero’s praises are being sung as loudly as Kante’s.
His second half strike, after Ander Herrera had been sent off late in the first, for his challenge on Hazard settled a contest in which tempers were flaring left right and centre.
In one five-minute, frenetic first half spell, David de Gea billboarded Real Madrid credentials, his full-stretch rebuttals of Hazard and Gary Cahhil dead-heating for instinct and quality.
Hazard’s effort was creditable one. It was not often he ran more than ten yards without being grassed by fair or foul means.
Eventually, it merely became a question of when Michael Oliver’s patience would snap.
Unsurprisingly, Ander Herrera did the trick, following up a blatant body-check with an offence that was not too serious but was committed a couple of seconds after Oliver had delivered a lecture to Chris Smalling, telling the United captain that he could see Hazard was clearly being targeted.
Herrera is normally a whole lot sneakier than that.
Oliver’s decision produced predictable pandemonium on the touchline and beyond.
The brattish behaviour of Conte and Mourinho was as convincing an argument for simply abolishing technical areas as you could wish for.
Mourinho took time out from exchanging insults with Conte and company to send on Marouane Fellaini, sacrificing the creative input of Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
On the double yellow, it was bus-parking time which is why the softness of the Kante breakthrough was something of a surprise.
Several United players stood off, caring little for any shooting potential and Kante’s decently taken strike was red-carpeted towards De Gea.
If one man was above the nonsense, it was the Player of chelsea Ngolo Kante.