In an intense showdown in the League Cup second round, Chelsea and Everton were put to the test by their lower-tier adversaries on Wednesday. Both Premier League titans had to dig deep to pull out narrow 2-1 wins over AFC Wimbledon and Doncaster Rovers, respectively.
Stamford Bridge witnessed an unexpected twist when Wimbledon went ahead with a 19th-minute penalty, thanks to a misstep by Chelsea’s Robert Sanchez. But the Premier League side wasn’t rattled. Noni Madueke, the rising star from England’s under-21 squad, restored balance to the scoreboard, finding the net from the penalty spot just as the first half concluded.
The substitute, Enzo Fernandez, emerged as Chelsea’s hero, slotting in his inaugural goal for the club, ensuring a hard-earned win in the 72nd minute.
Everton’s Fresh Faces Shine
Meanwhile, Everton’s Premier League journey this season has been rocky. Falling behind against Doncaster looked like another chapter in their struggle. But Beto, the club’s recent acquisition, marked his debut in style. He exhibited a hint of what he might bring to the club, driving a low ball beyond the reach of Doncaster’s goalkeeper in the 73rd minute. Just when the match seemed to be drifting towards a draw, he stepped forward Arnaut Danjuma to stamp the win for Everton.
On the other side of the spectrum, Sheffield United couldn’t overcome third-tier Lincoln City, succumbing in the penalty shootout following a deadlock in regular time.
Burnley marked their territory with a 1-0 victory against Nottingham Forest. But it was Blackburn Rovers who made headlines, steamrolling Harrogate Town in a jaw-dropping 8-0 encounter.
Football enthusiasts have much to look forward to in the third round. Key fixtures to watch out for include Newcastle United’s clash with Manchester City, Chelsea’s face-off against Brighton & Hove Albion, and an eagerly awaited London derby, pitting Arsenal against Brentford.