LONDON • Romelu Lukaku never did get to score for Chelsea, the club he loved from afar as a kid in Belgium. On Saturday, it was revenge. It was magnificent, wrecking-ball stuff.
A tight, seemingly locked-down FA Cup tie was smashed apart by the big striker during an explosive finale where goals and cards flew.
Lukaku scored twice, his first strikes against his former team.
Farhad Moshiri, Everton's new main shareholder, looked on, knowing that one of his priorities will be to keep his club's muscled and mercurial No. 10.
The tie seemed deadlocked with only 13 minutes left, until Lukaku, who moved to Goodison Park on a season-long loan before signing a £28 million (S$55.3 million) permanent deal in the summer of 2014, smashed it apart.
Chelsea looked in moderate danger when he received possession on the left flank but Lukaku had stolen behind Cesar Azpilicueta to find the ball and cut inside a covering Branislav Ivanovic to suddenly open up their defence.
Shaking off an attempt by Azpilicueta to foul him, he then veered past John Obi Mikel and into the box.
Like a brawny Ricky Villa, on he pressed, next dismissing Gary Cahill after turning him that way and this. Suddenly clear and nearing the six-yard box, Lukaku posted a lovely finish past goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
Within five minutes, Lukaku had scored again, driving on to Ross Barkley's pass and stroking a low shot beyond Courtois.
The Belgian became the first Everton player to score 25 goals in a season since Gary Lineker in 1985-96.
Remarkably, the 22-year-old has struck in all five FA Cup ties he has played for his club.
He insisted later that he was not motivated by any sense of revenge in facing Chelsea.
"I don't think I have anything to prove," said Lukaku.
"Obviously, there is a bit of emotion. I went there when I was 18. But I moved on, like they did. I wish them the best for the future but I do my best for my team."
THE TIMES, LONDON, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE