Chelsea claimed a place in the last four of the Carabao Cup, scraping past Bournemouth 2-1 after a pulsating finish to a closely contested encounter at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues were made to work hard for their win, struggling to dominate their opponents as many expected they would, despite the introduction of Eden Hazard, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Morata in the second half.
In the end, the hosts did just enough to break Bournemouth hearts and take their place in the semi-finals alongside Manchester City, Arsenal and Bristol City.
Chelsea handed rare starts to Willy Caballero, Kenedy and Michy Batshuayi, with young central defender Ethan Ampadu also brought into a back three alongside Antonio Rudiger and captain Gary Cahill.
Bournemouth too fielded plenty of squad players, Jermain Defoe asked to lead the Cherries front line with Ryan Fraser and Lys Mousset supporting out wide.
The game began in untidy fashion, youngster Ampadu scything through Defoe a couple of minutes into the contest, earning himself an early yellow card. The tackle would force the England striker to be replaced inside the opening 20 minutes.
With the first real chance of the match, the hosts took the lead. Picking up the ball after dropping deep into Bournemouth’s half, Michy Batshuayi’s neat footwork turned the ball towards an advancing Kenedy.
The Brazilian’s neat flick released Cesc Fabregas down the left-hand side, the Spaniard keeping his composure to draw out keeper Artur Boruc, before squaring it across the six-yard box for Willian to crash home.
Despite taking the lead, the Blues failed to capitalise on their advantage. Unable to fashion any further clear-cut chances, Gary Cahill’s dipping volley over the bar proved to be their best opening in the remainder of the first half.
The second half failed to produce what many might have expected, with Eddie Howe’s men putting Chelsea under prolonged periods of pressure.
Their perseverance appeared to have paid off, with just a minute remaining on the clock. Good work down the right-hand side, eventually saw the ball squared to midfielder Dan Gosling, and he curled a superb effort past Caballero to send the visiting fans into raptures.
Just as they dared dream of extra-time though, the Blues struck the decisive blow. Morata’s fierce pass was taken into his stride by Hazard, and acutely aware of his surroundings, the Belgian returned the ball to Morata, who slid the ball under the advancing Boruc.
Despair for Eddie Howe’s side, but the Bournemouth manager will take great pride in a second-half showing that saw his side offer plenty going forward, and hope for the remainder of the season.
Ultimately though, the quality of Premier League champions shone through as Antonio Conte’s side sealed their place in the last four in dramatic fashion.