Romelu Lukaku and Hakim Ziyech’s goals were all that Chelsea needed to seal their return to Wembley Stadium for FA Cup semi-finals.
Championship side Boro had been one of the stories of the competition this season, having already eliminated Manchester United and Tottenham on their way to the last eight, and more than 30,000 home fans were hoping to see the world and European champions added to that list.
But Chelsea had other ideas and came flying out of the blocks, despite having less than 700 of their own supporters at the game after the club were prevented from selling any more tickets as part of the sanctions placed on owner Roman Abramovich.
But the Blues fans who were able to take their place in the away end would have been delighted with the way their side approached their task, with Mason Mount giving them a taste of what was to come when his whipped cross after a clever run down the right was just missed by both Romelu Lukaku and Christian Pulisic.
The Chelsea academy product was again released down the right after 15 minutes after some composed defending by Cesar Azpilicueta and Thiago Silva, and this time his ball in was turned home by Lukaku.
Boro responded well to the early blow and created an opening when Jonny Howson dispossessed Ruben Loftus-Cheek in a dangerous area, while Marcus Tavernier caused problems with his deliveries from set-pieces.
But Hakim Ziyech then celebrated his 29th birthday in ideal fashion by doubling the Blues’ advantage on 31 minutes. The Moroccan was granted too much time to cut in on his favoured left foot, and while his strike from the edge of the area arrowed into the bottom corner, Boro goalkeeper Joe Lumley may feel he should have got down quicker to turn away the strike.
Chelsea should have made it three shortly after when a lucky bounce allowed Lukaku to round Lumley, but Anfernee Dijksteel produced an excellent clearance on the goal line to keep his side in the game.
Boro improved in the second half, with Isaiah Jones’ forays from his right wing-back position catching the eye, but – while Thomas Tuchel’s side failed to maintain their first-half intensity – they never really looked like giving up their advantage, with the imperious Thiago Silva, in particular, ensuring their hosts were kept at arm’s length.
Boro ended the game without a shot on target, such was Chelsea’s comfort, while the visitors even spurned a late chance to put the game beyond doubt when Timo Werner saw his short-range effort blocked by Sol Bamba with the goal gaping.
The result means Chelsea have now reached the FA Cup semi-finals in five of the last six seasons, and they will discover who they face at Wembley next month when the draw takes place on Sunday at 5.30pm, while Boro will turn their attention to securing a play-off spot as they bid to return to the Premier League.
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