Chelsea survived another late scare from Norwich but managed to progress to the next round of the FA Cup on penalties.
Antonio Conte picked the same attack and midfield that started at Carrow Road two weeks ago, but there was one change in defence, with Ethan Ampadu coming in for Antonio Rüdiger.
Chelsea’s first attempt at goal came after seven minutes, but Danny Drinkwater’s shot whistled a few yards wide of the post.
Our summer signing once again tried his luck from distance at the midway point of the first half, forcing Angus Gunn to make a stunning fingertip save to diverted it onto the crossbar. It was the closest the Blues had come to scoring.
The visitors also came close 10 minutes before the break, when Nelson Oliveira hit the woodwork with a stunning strike from the edge of the box. The scores remained goalless at half-time.
Michy Batshuayi finally gave Chelsea the lead with 55 minutes played, when he managed to divert a Kenedy cross into the roof of the net. It was the first time the Canaries’ defence switched off, and they were immediately punished.
Despite taking the lead, the match looked far from over and Norwich kept threatening Chelsea’s defence in search of an equaliser.
James Maddison hit the post after a poor punch from Willy Caballero, but Chelsea’s goalkeeper made up for his mistake moments later, when he denied the same player with a crucial save. It wouldn’t be the last time he would come to his side’s rescue.
Andreas Christensen and Alvaro Morata replaced Ethan Ampadu and Michy Batshuayi with minutes remaining in normal time. Our Spanish striker made an immediate impact and almost scored with his first touch of the game, heading just wide.
Chelsea’s lead never looked safe and Norwich found an equaliser in the fourth minute of stoppage time. Jamal Lewis, the goalscorer, found himself unmarked in the centre of the box and nodded in.
Both sides were heading for extra-time.
A controversial decision at the start of extra-time denied Chelsea a clear penalty, with Willian finding himself in the referee’s book for simulation.
An attacking substitution saw Eden Hazard replacing Danny Drinkwater with no 100 minutes of football played.
Things went from bad to worse for Chelsea in the dying moments of extra-time. First Pedro was sent off for a second bookable offence, shortly after Morata received two yellow cards in the space of five seconds; the first one for a dive, the second one for dissent.
Chelsea, down to nine men, managed to get through the last remaining seconds without conceding and the game had to be decided in a penalty shootout.
Willian stepped up first for Chelsea and scored, before Caballero made a stunning save to deny Oliveira from the spot. Advantage Chelsea.
David Luiz scored for Chelsea, as did Maddison for Norwich. There were also no mistakes from Cesar Azpilicueta, Mario Vrancic, N’Golo Kante and Josh Murphy. It was up to Eden Hazard to send Chelsea through to the next round, which he did with a cooly taken penalty.
A home tie against Newcastle at Stamford Bridge awaits in round four of this year’s FA Cup.
Chelsea (3-4-3): Caballero; Ampadu (Christensen 81′), David Luiz, Azpilicueta (c); Zappacosta, Bakayoko (Hazard 100′), Drinkwater, Kenedy (Kante 87′), Willian, Batshuayi (Morata 81′), Pedro
Unused subs: Eduardo, Sterling, Musonda
Scorer: Batshuayi 55′
Booked: Pedro 62′, Willian 92, Morata 120′
Sent off: Pedro 117′, Morata 120′