An outstanding second half performance wasn't enough to beat the other Blues as Everton and Chelsea will play a rematch at London's Stamford in a few weeks after a 1-1 tie today at Goodison. Saha's goal was equalized by Salomon Kalou in a game that could've been won.
A detailed recap after the jump:
David Moyes switched back to the 4-2-3-1 system as Jack Rodwell, Louis Saha and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov replaced Victor Anichebe, Jermaine Beckford and Leon Osman in the starting lineup.
The match started with the usual cautiousness, Chelsea dominated the early ball possession but couldn't create any scoring chances. On the other side Jack Rodwell with a shot aimed directly at Cech and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov with two headers had decent tries. It took the reigning FA Cup champion about 30 minutes to get Everton's defense and goalkeeper Tim Howard into trouble. A beauty of a pass by Ramires gave Nicolas Anelka the opportunity to score but he was denied by the American goalie. A couple of shots here and there including a powerful one by Florent Malouda (again saved by Howard) and the first half was over. For us emotionally attached fans it was an interesting half but, to be honest, I couldn't disagree with anyone who thinks that those 45 minutes were boring.
Then, the second half started and with it the Toffees' domination. A lot of dead-ball situations which finally became more and more dangerous again and overall improved passing inevitably lead to the first goal of the match. An hour was played when Leighton Baines again took care of a corner kick, John Terry decided not to defend so Louis Saha easily headed the ball into the net. Everton continuted to put Chelsea into pressure but couldn't capitalize. Seamus Coleman had a huge chance to make it 2-0 but both of his shots were blocked. A counter-attack after the following corner was almost as easy as practice for Salomon Kalou who, at this point and probably overall undeservedly, tied the match.
It was impossible to overlook that Moyes' boys were quite shocked by this. But they weren't run over now, it was still an open match. A shot by Ramires hit the post and for a second Goodison Park, if not the whole world, was quiet. This could've been the game winner, the shot into the hearts of all Everton fans but it wasn't. Instead, Everton almost won the match with a late goal. A terrible mistake by Branislav Ivanovic forced Petr Cech to save a hell of a shot by Jermaine Beckford who replaced Jack Rodwell just minutes before.
That was it. It was obvious that the fans weren't sure whether they should be proud of the fact that their team deserved and almost got the fifth-round win against Chelsea or be disappointed because they didn't.
I thought we did well in the first half. You've got to remember Chelsea have won the FA Cup twice recently and they're Premier League champions, so when you play Chelsea you're going to have to work hard, they're going to move you around and you've got to keep disciplined. I thought we did that, we were well organised and we kept ourselves together.
I thought in the second half we picked it up, got about it and looked a little more threatening than we had done. But I don't think you could come away and say that Chelsea were really threatening today. I thought we were the side who were probably more liable to score.
Side note: Tim Cahill's Australia lost the Asian Cup final against Japan. Tadanari Lee scored the only goal of the match in the 20th minute of extra time.