Chelsea advanced into the fourth round of the FA Cup after an incident-filled penalty shoot-out win over Norwich that saw both Pedro and Alvaro Morata sent off and confusion over the Video Assistant Referee system.
Both sides hit the bar in the first half before Michy Batshuayi broke the deadlock in the 55th minute, scoring Chelsea’s first goal in nearly six hours.
However, after Josh Murphy struck the post and Willy Caballero denied James Maddison, Norwich levelled deep into injury-time when Jamal Lewis headed in from Timm Klose’s cross.
A frenetic period of extra-time saw both Pedro and substitute Morata sent off – with both players booked for diving – and uncertainty over the VAR system as Chelsea had several penalty appeals turned down by referee Graham Scott and seemingly not referred.
Eventually, the Premier League side did secure a fourth-round tie against Newcastle after scoring all five of their penalties in the shoot-out and Caballero saving from Nelson Oliveira, but much of the post-match discussion is likely to be about the use of VAR rather than Chelsea’s victory.
After kick-off was delayed by 15 minutes to transport issues, Chelsea started with positive intent as Danny Drinkwater, Willian and Cesar Azpilicueta went close. Angus Gunn then tipped a dipping strike from Drinkwater onto the bar.
However, Norwich grew into the game and Oliveira also hit the bar after a terrible backpass from Batshuayi.
The deadlock was eventually broken in the 55th minute when Batshuayi finished from Kenedy’s low cross.
Norwich hit the post through Murphy and saw Maddison brilliantly denied by Caballero, but, after Morata went close to scoring a second for Chelsea, the visitors levelled deep into injury-time when Lewis glanced in a header from Klose’s left-wing cross.
That was far from the end of the drama as Willian was booked for diving in the box in extra-time and the referee appeared not to consult VAR, even though replays suggested he might have been clipped.
Gunn saved twice in quick succession from Willian and Morata before Pedro was sent off for a second booking.
Morata followed him down in the tunnel late in extra-time after being booked for diving in the area and then protesting the decision, with the referee again not seemingly going to the VAR for the incident.
Despite finishing the game with nine men, Chelsea held their nerve in the shoot-out as Caballero saved Norwich’s first attempt from Oliveira and the hosts all scored five of their penalties to advance.