William Gallas' first half prod and two goals in a nightmare six-minute spell took Chelsea into the semi-finals.
The first half was the epitomy of a good, old-fashioned cup tie.
It was frantic stuff as tackles went in, passions ran high on the pitch and the stands and both teams tried to gain the early moral ground.
Chelsea almost did that as early as the sixth minute when Gudjohnsen played a one-two wth Gronkjaer and went over in a tangle of legs on the edge of the area.
The visitors surrounded referee Andy D'Urso and hearts were in mouths when Richards was called over but, thankfully, and unlike Wednesday night at Old Trafford, the card was yellow. Chelsea certainly saw red and to add to their woes, the free-kick came to nothing.
Nevertheless, the visitors were soon in front. Hasselbaink flighted a corner directly under the crossbar, Sullivan clawed it out but straight to Melchiot who stabbed across goal for Gallas to poke home from close range.
The game continued at its incredible tempo for the next 15 minutes as, if anything, we appeared over anxious to get ourselves back on terms.
Hasselbaink was inches away from doubling the lead when the next chance arrived. He played a one-two with Gudjohnsen and manage to get his toe to the ball as he, Richards and Sullivan met it together. The ball cleared Sullivan, clipped the top of the bar and bounced to safety.
Our best spell and chances of the half - and game - followed after that scare.
Anderton picked out Ferdinand with a superb cross from the right after 38 minutes only for the striker's glancing header to beat Cudicini and bounce back off the post.
Then, in injury time, Ferdinand's flick found Ziege and his first-time cross was clipped over by Sheringham.
The second half started with promise as Ferdinand challenged Cudicini for Anderton's free-kick and the loose ball was rolled towards goal by Poyet but the keeper got back in time to smoother the effort.
But then it all went horribly wrong. With 48 minute on the clock Gudjohnsen raced onto Le Saux's pass and as we prayed for an offside flag to appear, he finished the one-on-one to double the score.
Sullivan saved superbly from Hasselbaink two minutes later but the third goal wasn't far away. It arrived in unfortunate fashion as well as Sherwood lost possession, Le Saux pounced and drilled a low shot into the corner.
Glenn Hoddle immediately threw caution to the wind and threw on Sergei Rebrov for Dean Richards.
That move left gaps and Chelsea exploited them to the full when Gronkjaer flicked into the path of Gudjohnsen, who was clean through again and clinically finished the one-on-one.
Sullivan saved again from Hasselbaink but the next action of note was almost inevitable red card as Le Saux, already booked, launched into substitute Mauricio Taricco.
We continued to pass and probe but chances were few and far between and the final, defiant, cries of 'Glenn Hoddle's Blue and White army' were certainly sung with a lump in the throat.
Our dreams of a cup final double were ended in a fiery FA Cup tie at the Lane.