LONDON — Chelsea reached the FA Cup quarter-finals with a hard-fought 1-0 win at Championship side Barnsley on Thursday settled by a second-half goal from centre forward Tammy Abraham.
The Blues started with 10 new faces from their last Premier League line-up and struggled to find any rhythm in the first half as Barnsley refused to be cowed by their big-name opponents and created the better early chances.
New Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel changed his side’s shape at the start of the second half, bringing on full back Reece James to replace Marcos Alonso and centre half Antonio Rudiger for Andreas Christensen, and switching to four in defence.
The decisions paid off when James, fed by 19-year-old Billy Gilmour, raced into space and his cross found Abraham for an easy finish as Barnsley’s defenders appealed in vain for an offside decision.
Barnsley substitute Michael Sollbauer almost equalised immediately after coming on but his goal-bound flick was cleared off the line by Abraham with a full-stretch header in the 78th minute.
The win was the fourth in five games for Chelsea since Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard last month, and it was the fourth clean sheet for the Blues under the German.
Last year’s beaten FA Cup finalists will host Sheffield United in the sixth round, having beaten the Yorkshire side twice in the league this season including last week’s 2-1 away win.
Reporting by William Schomberg, editing by Ed Osmond; Reuters
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