Chelsea 4 Portsmouth 0
Three goals in the final six minutes lit up what would otherwise have been a thoroughly unconvincing Chelsea victory.
Ramires scored two of them and Frank Lampard netted the fourth for a Blues side that struggled badly until taking the lead through Juan Mata’s close-range finish.
Portsmouth threatened to cause an FA Cup shock before Florent Malouda worked his way to the byeline and pulled the ball back for Mata to break the deadlock and nudge Chelsea towards the fourth round.
They finished with a flourish, with Mata’s cross leading to Ramires doubling the lead before the Brazilian scored again, delightfully chipping keeper Stephen Henderson after collecting Fernando Torres’ clever pass.
Lampard fired into the corner in injury time to ensure the final scoreline massively flattered Andre Villas-Boas’ men and was harsh on Portsmouth, who looked the better team for much of the game.
Mata’s goal, which came two minutes after the interval, was a timely boost for Chelsea after an unimpressive first half.
They would have gone behind after only 29 seconds had Dave Kitson not wasted a golden chance by dragging his shot wide.
And even after Mata’s opener they looked vulnerable at the back – as they have done for most of the season.
David Luiz did nothing to convince his doubters when he gave the ball away and the impressive Marko Futacs was given an opportunity to equalise.
Futacs was denied by keeper Petr Cech, and Richardo Rocha’s follow-up was cleared off the line by Blues skipper John Terry, who collided painfully with the post in the process of rescuing his team.
Terry had passed a fitness test on a knee problem, while Torres was given a starting place and a chance to perhaps kick-start his Chelsea career with a goal against Championship opposition.
But apart from a first-half header that was comfortably saved, and his role in Ramires’ second goal, Torres barely troubled the Pompey defence before being substituted late on.
Ramires, on the other hand, produced a typically energetic display and took advantage when the visitors tired in the closing stages, helping himself to a brace and then setting up Lampard.