Chelsea begin Cup campaign with comfortable win

London, Jan 6 – There was a bit of nostalgia at Stamford Bridge with Chelsea playing in a kit designed to that of 50 years ago in homage to their cup-winners of 1970. Some of those club legends were brought on to the pitch at half-time to the applause from fans. That was the memorable final when the great Leeds United side went down 2-1 in the replay against their equally brilliant opponents.
Chelsea’s current campaign saw them emerge winners against Nottingham Forest with relative ease with two first-half goals and their head coach Frank Lampard praised his team’s performance and in particular the opening goal scorer, 19-year-old Callum Hudson-Odoi. He said: “It was a good performance by Callum. It has been an interesting 12 months for him and you have to take his age into account. He had a terrible injury and there were issues (around his contract) and the challenge now is sustaining that improvement.”
Lampard added: “Last year everyone was talking about him. He then got an Achilles injury, came back very early and there were issues getting him tip top. When you are a player of speed and sharpness and you have had an injury that severe that weapon is held back. So, there’s more to come from him. It was a nice step forward for him today.”
The first goal, in the sixth minute, come from Hudson-Odoi responding with an instinctive turn and left-foot shot inside the box that was just what the manager wanted. Collecting the ball near the byeline, he twisted past Forest right-back Yuri Ribeiro then fired low inside the near post for a clinical goal.
The second goal arrived in the 33rd minute with Hudson-Odoi again playing a crucial role, this time in combination with Ross Barclay. Barclay’s pass to the winger was crisp and as Hudson-Odoi again turned inside the right back to take his shot. The goalkeeper could only palm away from the angled drive into the path of Barclay who side-footed the ball into the net.
Forest were unlucky with VAR decisions going against them twice at crucial times. The penalty awarded to them in the first half was ruled out by VAR for offside against Alex Mighten who had gone down in the box under Fikayo Tomori’s challenge. Then in the 66th minute, when Forest thought they had scored with a headed goal from mid-fielder Ryan Yates, the video officials ruled it out for off side.
The Nottingham Forest coach, Sabri Lamouchi, who made numerous changes to his team said: “We don’t (didn’t) have any chance to win the FA Cup. Our goal is just to focus on the league. (It is) just a choice, my responsibility. But we cannot miss our target. If you win or draw, you play one more game, and we have a lot of games to play.”
He went on to say: “To play against a Premier League team, the difference between them and us is huge. We can’t (compete). With my team, with where I am now, the goal is not to focus on the cup. The fans, the club, the whole community, they want not to win the FA Cup, not to go to Wembley for one more final, but to come back to the Premier League – 21 years (out of the top league) is too much.”