Late goals from Eden Hazard and Nemanja Matic settled an entertaining FA Cup semi-final 4-2 in Chelsea’s favour over title rivals Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley on Saturday (22/04/17).
According to Reuters, Brazilian Willian, surprisingly selected ahead of Hazard in the starting line-up, twice put Chelsea ahead in a sizzling contest, first after four minutes with a free kick and then close to halftime from the penalty spot.
Twice Tottenham roared back with Harry Kane heading them level after 18 minutes and fellow England international Dele Alli making it 2-2 with a superb finish in the 52nd minute.
Tottenham, who are four points behind Chelsea in the Premier League after a brilliant run of seven successive wins, dominated at times but their hopes of a first FA Cup final since 1991 were sunk late on by two moments of magic.
First Hazard, who replaced Willian, buried a low shot past Hugo Lloris after 75 minutes, then Matic’s 25-metre piledriver sank Spurs who have won only one of their last nine matches at Wembley and have lost seven straight FA Cup semi-finals.
The managers speaking to BBC Sport:
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino:
“I feel proud. We were fantastic in the way we played and in our philosophy. They had five shots and scored four goals and we score only two. The penalty for me was a soft penalty or was not a penalty.
“Only now we can look forward. We are four points behind them and we will try to win our next game. I am not worried. The team is strong; we are focused. We were competing today with one of the best teams in Europe. Did we deserve more? Sure, but that is football.
“Now we will try to be calm, watch the game again and try to improve. We are in a process of trying to improve. If we cannot win the FA Cup this season we will try again next season.”
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte:
“I am proud for this achievement. It is great for the players for me. This is my first season in England and it is great to fight for the title and reach the final of the FA Cup, a great competition.
“During the season there is a moment as a coach you must take a strong decision. You have to take a risk. If you win the plan worked, if you don’t the responsibility is on you. I think today our plan worked very well.”
Tottenham have now lost their past seven FA Cup semi-finals in a row, the longest ever such run in the competition.