Chelsea scraped past Bristol Rovers to reach the League Cup third round, with Michy Batshuayi scoring twice in their 3-2 victory.
Michy Batshuayi scored twice as Chelsea survived a scare against Bristol Rovers to reach the third round on the League Cup with a 3-2 win at Stamford Bridge.
The League One particular outfit won the last meeting involving the sides back in 1981, but there was to be no repeat on Tuesday in spite of a battling overall performance in which they twice halved a two-goal deficit to maintain Chelsea on their toes.
Antonio Conte’s side, getting into the competition at this phase for the very first time considering the fact that 1996, took charge with the game throughout the first half due to ambitions from close-season signing Batshuayi and Victor Moses in the space of two minutes.
Defender Peter Hartley headed within a lifeline for the guests on 35 minutes, and even though Batshuayi struck once again before the break to calm a few of the nerves amongst the household fans, Ellis Harrison’s penalty gave Rovers hope once more.
Rovers’ fans did their utmost to make an effort to inspire an equaliser, but Chelsea went largely untroubled by way of the closing stages to book their location within the subsequent round.
Chelsea, who handed a debut to full-back Ola Aina, started strongly in warm conditions at Stamford Bridge, with Pedro and Cesc Fabregas each coming close with efforts from distance.
Loftus-Cheek, deployed inside the a lot more advanced role advocated by Conte in current weeks, rattled the post having a fierce drive as Chelsea continued to dominate.
Rovers had defended stoutly but were undone by poor concentration in the space of two minutes.
Loftus-Cheek fed the run of Nemanja Matic and his ball into the region fell to the feet of Batshuayi, who blasted high into the net from 12 yards out having a fine left-footed shot around the turn.
And with 31 minutes played, Chelsea doubled their lead. Cesar Azpilicueta turned Pedro’s centre from the left back across the six-yard box exactly where Moses was on hand to tap in.
The visitors stunned Stamford Bridge four minutes later, on the other hand. Chris Lines curled a superb free-kick in to the area from the correct and Hartley rose highest to head beyond Asmir Begovic’s proper hand.
Batshuayi created Conte’s half-time group talk somewhat much easier shortly ahead of the break, timing his run into the region perfectly to meet Loftus-Cheek’s cut-back and rifle beyond Steve Mildenhall, but Rovers scored a second just three minutes in to the second half.
Pedro bundled more than Stuart Sinclair as he raced clear into the box, and although he was spared a red card due to new regulations concerning fouls by the final defender, Harrison converted the penalty to leave Chelsea feeling anxious once again.
Harrison blasted more than the bar soon after an excellent counter-attack before substitute Jermain Easter was denied by a great Begovic save, but Rovers’ hopes of a beautiful comeback failed to materialise as Chelsea held firm to progress, in spite of a third objective for Batshuayi inside the dying moments becoming ruled out for an infringement.