Chelsea 1 Brighton 0
The pressure eased on Mauricio Pochettino as Chelsea progressed into the fourth round of the Carabao Cup with a slender win courtesy of Nicolas Jackson's second goal for the club. It was a classy finish worthy of a £32m summer signing and possibly priceless for his under-fire manager.
It took until the second half to make the breakthrough and secure a place in the last 16, but it was worth the wait. Fellow close season recruit Cole Palmer received the ball on the half turn on the edge of the box and found Jackson in space. The Senegalese striker calmly slotted the ball beyond Bart Verbruggen and that was enough to seal a first win for the Blues since a 3-1 victory over AFC Wimbledon in the previous round.
Chelsea started the game with a spring in their step as Mykhailo Mudryk tested Verbruggen with an effort after just two minutes. Brighton stifled Chelsea's early pressure as Ansu Fati and Kaoru Mitoma began to link up on Brighton's left. Joao Pedro was inches away from getting on the end of the cross. The game had a chaotic feel to it in the opening exchanges, with both sides not afraid to sit back.
A huge chance fell Brighton's way in the 23rd minute. Robert Sanchez carelessly played the ball straight into Joao Pedro's path, but the Brazilian delicately chipped the ball over the bar. He had all the time in the world but tried to be cute, and it did not pay off. A huge let-off for Chelsea.
Chelsea were playing with fire at the back as ten minutes later Brighton's high press forced another defensive error from the hosts. Carlos Baleba wrestled the ball off former Brighton man Moises Caicedo, but Fati couldn't convert from inside the box. Sanchez got down low and made a vital save. The alreadyRead on irishexaminer.com