The former Morocco international put up an impressive performance as Chris Wilder’s side were beaten by the Blues
Hakim Ziyech put up a superb display as Chelsea silenced Middlesbrough 2-0 in Saturday’s English FA Cup fixture.
Despite failing to score in his last five matches for the Blues, the former Morocco international was named in Thomas Tuchel’s starting line-up in the quarter-final showdown.
He justified his manager’s faith in him by scoring a goal as Chris Wilder’s team were beaten before their home fans at the Riverside Stadium.
With just 15 minutes into the clash, Romelu Lukaku put the reigning European kings ahead after he put Mason Mount’s pass beyond goalkeeper Joe Lumley.
On the half-hour mark, birthday boy Ziyech – who was celebrating his 29th anniversary doubled Chelsea’s advantage when he brilliantly fired from close range with Mount supplying the last pass.
Apart from his goal, the African was a thorn in the flesh of Boro defenders before he was finally subbed off for Robert Kenedy in the 80th minute.
His goal came from his only shot in the low-scoring affair while making three key passes with 56 touches. Also, he made seven crosses and 41 passes with a passing accuracy of 75.6%.
Whereas, he did not add any value to Chelsea defensively with statistics showing he scored zero judging by top tackles, interceptions, clearances, and blocked shots.
For goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, he was largely a spectator as he was rarely threatened by the English second-tier side.
Senegal prospect Malang Sarr was in action from start to finish, while player of Sierra Leonean origin Trevoh Chalobah was an unused substitute.
Prior to the game, manager Tuchel stated he never had any doubts about the mental strength of his players during the club’s testing period.
“I would actually say that surprised is the wrong word for me because I demanded it from myself and I felt the culture inside the building always very focused on football,” he was quoted by the Chelsea website.
“Petr Cech is a perfect example of how you manage to be a player and what it takes to be a player for Chelsea. It’s on a daily basis, so actually I demand it more or less and I expected it almost, that we could do it.
“That’s a part of it and it affects my mentality once you’re in this building and it brings out the very competitive attitude in you.
“If you play for Chelsea, if you have a contract with Chelsea, it makes you already special in what you do. We pointed that out to the players very clearly.”