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Villas-Boas hails his troops as steely Blues edge Toffee grapple

DANIEL Sturridge fired the extra-time winner as Chelsea reached the quarter-finals of the Carling Cup with a nail-biting win at Everton last night.

Both sides had a man sent off and missed a penalty each before Sturridge settled a remarkable fourth-round tie at Goodison Park in the 116th minute.

A blunder by Everton goalkeeper Jan Mucha gifted Chelsea's Salomon Kalou the opening goal in the first half but Louis Saha hit back on 83 minutes after the sending off of visiting keeper Ross Turnbull.

Everton then spurned numerous chances to win the game in normal time and the Londoners regained control after Royston Drenthe was dismissed for a second yellow in extra time.

Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas, who fielded a largely second-string side, was pleased his players emerged victorious just three days after a side reduced to nine men suffered a battling 1-0 defeat at QPR.

He said: "We went down to 10 men, unfortunately, once again and made things even more difficult but we were able to triumph in difficulty and these are good signs for us.

"We got one of the most difficult draws, Everton away with one of their strongest sides.

"They showed they wanted to go through this phase but we were able, not only to play good football, but show good commitment and desire."

The match was frustrating for Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka, who side-footed an early penalty wide, missed another good chance and saw an effort rebound off the post after a remarkable goalline clearance by Leighton Baines.



Pressure

Baines missed a penalty himself, firing straight at substitute Petr Cech after Turnbull was sent off for bringing down Saha while his side were 1-0 up.

The left-back also failed to put away the rebound but Everton's extra man told as Saha levelled during a prolonged spell of pressure and the hosts could have gone on to win.

But Everton's hopes faded after Drenthe departed and Chelsea were in the ascendancy when Sturridge struck. Everton boss David Moyes said: "I don't think we deserved to lose. Certainly over 90 minutes we should have won the game."