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  • Writer's pictureBy Paul Lagan at Wembley Stadium

Blues miss host of chances but fall to FA Cup semi-final heartache to sucker punch goal from Silva

Manchester City v Chelsea Picture by Paul Lagan
Manchester City v Chelsea Picture by Paul Lagan

By Paul Lagan at Wembley Stadium

Manchester City 1 v Chelsea 0

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Chelsea can only have themselves to blame for not stepping back out in the Wembley turf for the FA Cup final as they succumbed to a sucker punch goal from Bernardo Silva six minutes from time after dominating the game and having a host of chances, several gilt-edged to put the opposition to the sword.

Nicolas Jackson missed the best but the Blues also failed to produce the final killer ball when they cut the Premier League champions apart on at least four occasions.

City, who were dumped out of the Champions League in midweek were tired but resolute. Chelsea fired up from a 6-0 thrashing of Everton on Monday, were by contrast light on touch, fluid in the counter-attack and had a gamelan of restricting the width of City.

It all work bar the bit that counts and that's putting the ball in the back of the net.

City will now face either the red half of their city or Coventry – they play tomorrow.

A misplaced back pass by Marc Cucurella almost spelt disaster for Chelsea in the opening two minutes, Jack Grealish almost latched onto the ball and would have been clear on goal, but for the late and expertly executed block tackle by Thiago Silva.

Chelsea's first effort on goal came on seven minutes. A quick turnover by Moises Caicedo saw the ball fed to Nicolas Jackson. The striker inched into the City area on the left, but his scuffed left-footer did not trouble Stefan Ortega.

City had a great chance to score on 14 minutes when ex-Chelsea midfielder Kevin De Bruyne bisected the Chelsea defence as Phil Foden ran into space.

The attacking midfielder rounded Djordje Petrovic, but took the ball too close to the byline. He cut the ball back but the west Londoners recovered to clear the ball to safety.

Several times Chelsea had broken the City back line, but each time they failed to convert their chances, the fourth involved Cole Palmer, who at least got a shot away, which was blocked by Ortega on 37 minutes.

There was no changes at half-time by Chelsea.

Chelsea started incredibly well and Jackson missed two great chances within the first four minutes of the restart. He broke free but could not angle his shot past Ortega, then Ortega was on the spot to parry away a close-range header from a Palmer right-wing cross.

The end to end nature of the game continued and Petrovic was next in line to save his side when he got down low to and excellent Foden daisy-cutter on 52 minutes.

A possible hand ball for Chelsea was quickly waved away by VAR following a Palmer curling free kick. Which seemed to hit Jack Grealish's left arm.

Grealish's game ended with an injury on 65 minutes – on came Jeremy Doku.

He almost scored with his first touch – a low left-footer which Petrovic hacked away at his near post.

De Bruyne tried a trademark edge of the area curler on 70 minutes, but it went straight instead – for a goal kick.

Pochettino, sensing a shift towards his way, opted to bring on more firepower with Mykhailo Mudryk coming on for Noni, while Axel Disasi replaced Gusto in defence – both on 79 minutes.

But it worked the other was round. Suddenly City had possession and pinged it from left to right. De Bruyne cut the ball across from the byline, Petrovic could only help it on and at the far post Bernardo Silva slotted home.

It was against the run of play, but Chelsea can only have themselves to blame for not capitalising when they had the chances, and they had plenty.

The goal came with seven minutes left on the clock.

Pochettino then brought on defender Ben Chilwell and Raheem Sterling for Cucurella and Enzo with three minutes left.

Would it make a difference – Chelsea had eight minutes of added time to try.

They didn't.


Teams: Chelsea: Petrovic, Cucurella , Silva, Enzo, Noni, Chalobah, Jackson, palmer, Gallagher, Caicedo, Gusto

Subs: Bettinelli, Disasi, Badiashile, Sterling, Mudryk, Chukwuemeka, Chilwell, Deivid, Gilchrist

Man City, Ortega, Walker, Stones, Ake, Grealish, Rodri, De Bruyne, Alvarez, Silva, Akanji, Foden

Subs: Ederson, Dias, Kovacic , Doku, Gomez, Gvardiol, Nunes, Bobb, Lewis

Referee: Michael Oliver

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