LONDON - FA Cup holders Chelsea shrugged off the absence of captain John Terry to cruise into the quarterfinals with a 4-1 win over Championship side Cardiff City in the fifth round on Saturday.
They were joined in the last eight by crisis-club Portsmouth, who beat Southampton by an identical scoreline, while Manchester City were held to a 1-1 draw by Stoke.
With Terry granted time off to fly to Dubai to be with his wife as he deals with allegations of an affair, Ashley Cole sidelined after ankle surgery and Petr Cech and Nicolas Anelka rested, Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti sent out a slightly unfamiliar line-up at Stamford Bridge.
The Italian's team was still strong enough to kill off Cardiff.
In the second minute, Didier Drogba ran on to John Obi Mikel's long pass and fired past Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall for his 23rd goal of the season.
Cardiff forward Michael Chopra stunned the hosts when he punished poor marking to head in the equaliser from Chris Burke's 34th minute cross.
But Chelsea finally subdued Dave Jones's side and regained the lead in the 51st minute, thanks to Michael Ballack's cool finish from Drogba's pass.
Young striker Daniel Sturridge added the third goal firing through Marshall's legs in the 69th minute and Salomon Kalou, heading in Paolo Ferreira's cross, completed the rout with four minutes left.
Shaun Wright-Phillips put Manchester City in front in the 11th minute when Stoke goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen and defender Ryan Shawcross failed to deal with Stephen Ireland's long pass.
Shawcross, who had stumbled to the turf, kicked the ball off his own head attempting a clearance and Wright-Phillips was able to tap into the empty net.
But Stoke set up a replay in as Ricardo Fuller headed home a trademark rocket throw from Rory Delap in the 57th minute.
Portsmouth lifted the gloom around Fratton Park with a 4-1 win at local rivals Southampton.
Pompey, FA Cup winners in 2008, were able to put their off-field problems to one side for 90 minutes as they won the first meeting of these old enemies for five years.
Elsewhere, Birmingham's Liam Ridgewell scored in the last minute as Alex McLeish's side came from a goal down to beat Championship side Derby 2-1 at Pride Park.
The Rams went ahead when Jay McEveley's long-range effort deceived Joe Hart in the 55th minute for Scott Dann to equalise with his first goal for Birmingham in the 73rd minute then Ridgwell popped up with the dramatic 90th-minute winner.
Giant-killers Reading, who had defeated Liverpool and Burnley in the competition this season, were held to a 2-2 draw by West Bromwich Albion at the Madejski Stadium. - Sapa-AFP