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Chelsea see off Everton in FA Cup to keep Emma Hayes’ quadruple hunt alive

Catarina Macario - Chelsea see off Everton in FA Cup to keep Emma Hayes' quadruple hunt alive
Catarina Macario (centre) broke the deadlock for Chelsea in the 66th minute - Getty Images/Matt McNulty

Everton 0 Chelsea 1

Chelsea remain in contention for a quadruple of major trophies in Emma Hayes’s farewell season but she insisted it was the last thing on her mind after her side reached the Women’s FA Cup semi-finals.

Sunday’s slender 1-0 victory at Everton kept the holders in the running to lift a fourth consecutive Women’s FA Cup and came three days after they booked their spot in March 31’s League Cup final. Hayes’s team are also in the European quarter-finals, where they face Ajax over two legs this month, and sit top of the Women’s Super League table on goal-difference.

Hayes, who is leaving the club to take over as the United States manager at the end of May, cracked a smile when asked about the prospect of the quadruple and said: “You’re the ninth person to mention it today, funnily enough.

“I’m not lying when I say this, it’s the last thing you think about. You just think, ‘One foot in front of the other’, get on the bus, have your dinner, get home, rest and then try and pick ourselves up and go again.”

Hayes has been part of a quadruple-winning camp before, having been the assistant coach when Arsenal lifted all four major honours in 2007, the only time a British side have won the Women’s European Cup to date. But Hayes played down the idea of winning everything and pointed to the challenges of competing on all fronts.

“I’m grateful to be in the position, the team want to be in the position, but it’s not easy, when you’re having to play every three days and then you’re often playing against an opponent who has had a full week’s recovery,” she said. “It’ll be the same with Arsenal [Chelsea host Arsenal in the WSL on Friday], who had a weekend off, so we have to show a different side of ourselves.

“It doesn’t mean we can go and press in every moment, because we actually have to preserve ourselves. It’s about figuring out the right game plans to be able to sustain it all.”

Sunday’s game was a tricky obstacle in Chelsea’s quest, having been handed an away tie at the end of a week when they had already travelled to Leicester City and Manchester City, and Hayes’s team rode their luck at times but eventually secured a third straight clean sheet.

Hayes said it was a “relief” to win and admitted Everton had been “unlucky not to get a penalty” and had “deserved to score”. Brian Sorensen, the Everton manager, agreed, saying: “We’ve just been so unlucky throughout. We gave the goal away too easily, but overall I have no idea how we didn’t score.”

The winning strike saw United States forward Catarina Macario continue her comeback from injury with a second goal in as many games in the past seven days, both coming from second-half substitute appearances. Macario missed 20 months out because of her knee but took just three minutes to score on Sunday after coming on and turning home Aggie Beever-Jones’ ball.

“She’s such a good player, you can see that already,” Hayes said of Macario. “It was a really good bit of play from Aggie down the sides, finding Cat in a good area. Cat came into the game and provided a little bit of quality when we absolutely needed it, and that was enough. They’re not all pretty wins. Sometimes you have got to dig them out.”

The result meant Chelsea have not lost a Women’s FA Cup tie for 1,260 days since an away defeat at Everton at this same quarter-final stage of the cup in 2019-20, and Hayes said: “I told the players there’s nothing more romantic than the FA Cup, and it’s a beautiful opportunity for us.”

Match details

Everton (3-4-3): Brosnan 6; Vanhaevermaet 7, Finnigan 6, Stenevik 7; Galli 6, Wheeler 7, Bennison 6 (Bissell 6, 84), Kuhl, 7 (Hope 6, 72); Payne 7 (Madsen 6, 71), Piemonte 6, Snoeijs 6 (Dale 6, 83)
Subs not used: Duggan, Hart (gk), Wilding, Hobson
Yellow cards: Payne
Chelsea (4-3-3): Musovic 7; Perisset 7, Nusken 7, Bjorn 6 (Charles 7, 14), Carter 7; Cankovic 5 (James 6, 63), Ingle 6 (Leupolz 7, 63), Cuthbert 6 (Hamano 6, 79); Rytting Kaneryd 5, Kirby 6 (Macario 7, 63), Beever-Jones 7
Subs not used: Reiten, Lawrence, Hampton (gk), Buchanan
Yellow cards: Carter
Referee: Abigail Byrne (Suffolk)
Attendance: 1,212

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