Chelsea’s ambitions stretch well beyond winning the EFL Cup this season, yet there was no hiding what this victory meant to Antonio Conte and his players.
Leicester made seven changes, with Okazaki among those who seized his chance. His first goal was expertly taken, headed in from a tight angle after Musa’s cross bounced off Azpilicueta’s chest. Chelsea’s defending was not much better in the lead up to Okazaki’s second, when Pedro’s awful clearance dropped to King. The Wales international lifted the ball into the path of Okazaki, who controlled it on his chest before beating Asmir Begovic with the aid of a slight deflection off David Luiz.
Chelsea badly needed a break to get back into the game and it arrived when Cahill headed a Fàbregas corner over the line. Their equaliser was a beauty, Azpilicueta’s 22-yard volley flashing beyond Zieler following Wasilewski’s poor header, and from that point on the chances came thick and fast. Costa had several opportunities and was guilty of a poor miss when David Luiz released him beyond Wasilewski who was eventually red carded in the 90th minute. Fàbregas would not be so generous in extra-time, scoring twice, leaving Claudio Ranieri to reflect on what might have been.