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  • Writer's pictureBy Paul Lagan at the Academy Stadium

Cuthbert thunderbolt sends Chelsea on their way to Wembley in 3-0 rout of City in FA Cup semi-final

By Paul Lagan at the Academy Stadium

Man City 0 v Chelsea 3

A Erin Cuthbert thumper, a Melanie Leupolz daisy-cutter and a Beth England header a minute from time dumped FA Cup holders Manchester City out of the competition at the semi-final at the Academy Stadium this afternoon.

The west Londoners proved to strong and tactically superior, plus they took the few chances on offer when they came.

This competition was a hangover from last season due to pandemic and the 3-0 scoreline was a fair reflection on the overall superiority of the Londoners.

Chelsea will face either north London rivals Arsenal or Brighton at Wembley on December 5.

Chelsea started on the front foot, trying to put the City defence under pressure. Despite some wayward kicking from Karina Taieb, in goal, they weathered the early attacks.

Khadija Walsh opened the Chelsea rearguard up on six minutes, but Ann-Katrin Berger was on hand to snatch the ball before it could be fed to in-running Ellen White.

On a quick counter, Chelsea’s Fran Kirby had a great chance to score when Magda Eriksson sent across a deep left byline cross. But Kirby, while unchallenged failed to add direction or power and the ball drifted wide of Taieb’s goal.

Two needless defensive errors, the first by Eriksson and the second by Aniek Nouwen gave City a free pass to attack.

Thankfully on both occasions, the defensive response was better than the attempts to play the ball out.

City took control of the game, aided by the following wind and lack of winter sunshine in their eyes as the visitors opted for a period of defensive play.

On the rare occasion they broke, and they did on 17 minutes, Erin Cuthbert won a free-kick on then edge of the City penalty - Demi Stokes was booked for her efforts. The ball was zipped in and Eriksson,’s glancing header went inches wide of goal.

But soon after on 23 minutes, the west Londoners too the lead in sensational fashion.

Scotland international produced a thunderbolt of a right footer that sailed past Taieb and bashed the back of the net.

This was followed up four minutes later, by what looked like a speculative left-footer by Melanie Leupolz at then edge of the City penalty area. Taieb looked at fault as she dived to her left at her post, but the ball squeezed in to double the lead.

Sam Kerr should have made it three on 36 minutes after intricate one-two play between her and Kirby, but the Australian’s clipped left-footer was kicked away by Taieb.

a shamble of a City defence allowed Guro Reiten to shoot, Taieb was well placed to deflect the ball away for a corner - from the resultant kick, the stopper was a tad fortunate to flick away a deft Kerr close-range header.

Chelsea’s defence at times was equally shambolic, with misplaced passes, poor clearances allowing needless pressure to be placed on Berger.

Jess Park replaced Shaw at half-time, Chelsea were unchanged.

The game should have been over after six minutes from the restart. Cuthbert had the chance to score and produced a fine shot, but Taieb managed to dive to her left and grab the goal-bound effort with her left hand.

Emma Hayes replaced hard-running Kerr on 59 minutes with Beth England.

City responded by dominating possession again so Hayes replaced Reiten with Jessie Fleming and Leupolz with Drew Spence in order to regain the ball and keep it for longer periods. Niamh Charles replaced Kirby with 12 minutes left on the clock.

With a minute on the clock and quality passage of play saw Fleming pitch the perfect byline cross for England, who headed smartly into the back of the net to make it 3-0.

Teams: Chelsea, Berger, Nouwen, Bright, Ingle, Carter, Leupolz, Reiten, Kirby, Eriksson, Kerr, Cuthbert

Subs: Musovic, England, Ji, Fleming James, Charles

Man City: Taieb, Stokes, Greenwood, Coombs, Scott, Beckie, Hemp, White, Weir, Shaw, Walsh

Subs: Pilling, Angeldahl, Raso, Park, Losada

Referee Rebecca Walsh


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