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Dublin: 14 °C Tuesday 4 August, 2020

Oscar hits first half hat-trick and Hazard finally breaks 273-day goal duck

Former Ireland midfielder Darren Potter scored for MK Dons but Chelsea ran out comfortable 5-1 winners.

Oscar and Fabregas.
Oscar and Fabregas.
Image: Mike Egerton

Updated at 18.00

OSCAR STRUCK A first-half hat-trick and Eden Hazard ended his prolonged goal drought as Chelsea eased to a 5-1 FA Cup fourth-round victory against second-tier MK Dons.

Chelsea crashed out to League One Bradford City at the same stage last season, but a repeat rarely appeared to be on the cards at the home of Karl Robinson’s Championship strugglers.

Oscar had passed up a pair of gilt-edged chances before Diego Costa was presented with possession by Dons defender Kyle McFadzean to tee him up for the opener.

A deflected strike from Mark Potter gave the Dons a scarcely deserved equaliser, but there were two more crisp finishes from their tormentor-in-chief to wrap up a treble inside 44 minutes.

Reigning PFA and Football Writers’ Player of the Year Hazard had remarkably failed to find the net in 28 Chelsea appearances this term, but won and converted a penalty to end his slump after half-time and laid on substitute Bertrand Traore to complete the scoring.

Costa has scored six times in as many outings for boss Guus Hiddink and the striker should have prolonged that purple patch the second minute when Oscar squared, but David Martin pulled off a stunning reaction save.

Oscar twice shot tamely wide when picked out by Hazard inside the area, either side of saving with his boot from Branislav Ivanovic.

But the Brazil international made no mistake in the 15th minute, sliding home into an empty net after McFadzean’s horrible error. The signs were ominous for the hosts, but they drew level thanks to a large stroke of fortune six minutes later.

Potter’s speculative attempt looped wickedly off Nemanja Matic before beating Thibaut Courtois. Chelsea continued to cut through the home backline at will and a combination of Martin and the post denied Hazard before Costa slid in to take a simple finish off Oscar’s toe – both men left seated and smirking with embarrassment inside the six-yard box.

Britain Soccer League Cup Potter fires at goal. Source: Kirsty Wigglesworth

Oscar’s busy afternoon in front of goal continued in the 32nd minute – the impressive Ruben Loftus-Cheek flicking a delightful pass into his path for him to fire across Martin.

A first-half hat-trick was complete when the midfielder cut inside from the Dons’ porous right flank and arrowed a superb strike into the far corner. Hazard finally opened his account for the season after 55 minutes, sending Martin the wrong way from 12 yards after being bundled over by Potter.

The Belgium international celebrated at length in front of the travelling supporters, kissing the club badge. Rob Hall had a rising drive tipped over by Courtois as the Dons looked to ease the severity of their beating, but more pain arrived after the hour.

Traore’s first Chelsea goal was one of unacceptable simplicity from the hosts’ point of view as Hazard collected a long ball unchallenged and found Costa’s replacement to slot into the bottom corner. There should have been a brace for Traore, but he slipped and put Baba Rahman’s 77th-minute cutback wide.

Chelsea are now unbeaten in eight matches under Hiddink and remain on course to celebrate the Dutchman’s mid-season salvage job with FA Cup glory – as they did in 2009.

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