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Manchester City logo
FA Cup | Semi-Finals
Apr 20, 2024 at 5.15pm UK
Wembley Stadium
Chelsea logo

Man City
1 - 0

Silva (84')
Alvarez (58'), Petrovic (86')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Caicedo (45'), Foden (82'), De Bruyne (86'), Fernandez (86')

Chelsea pay for missed chances as Manchester City reach FA Cup final

Chelsea pay for missed chances as Man City reach FA Cup final
© Reuters
Defending champions Manchester City progress to the FA Cup final with a 1-0 win over a wasteful Chelsea at Wembley in Saturday's semi-final.

FA Cup holders Manchester City remain on course for back-to-back triumphs in the competition thanks to a 1-0 win over a wasteful Chelsea in Saturday's semi-final at Wembley.

Pep Guardiola's troops bounced back from their Champions League heartbreak against Real Madrid thanks to a second-half Bernardo Silva strike, but the scoreline did not tell the full story whatsoever.

The defending champions were incredibly lacklustre for the most part and faced a bombardment of attacks from the Blues, but the London giants lacked a killer instinct throughout the 90 minutes.

As Mauricio Pochettino continues his wait for a first major trophy in English football, City can gear up for another Wembley date with either Manchester United or Coventry City, who clash in Sunday in the outstanding semi-final.

In contrast, Chelsea - who are now winless in nine successive matches against the Premier League champions - are only fighting for top-flight pride between now and the end of the season but could still return to Europe via a top-seven finish in the table.

Following his enforced withdrawal in the Champions League defeat to Real Madrid, City's main marksman Erling Haaland failed to recover in time for the semi-final, seeing Pep Guardiola entrust Julian Alvarez with centre-forward duties.

Chelsea explode out of blocks against off-colour City

Chelsea players look dejected after Bernardo Silva scores for Manchester City on April 20, 2024© Reuters

The Argentine's opposite number Nicolas Jackson was particularly lively during a frenetic start to proceedings, firing the first shot of the game in the eighth minute, which was straight down the throat of Stefan Ortega.

In what would become the theme of an entertaining first half, City immediately strode down the other end of the pitch, and with 14 minutes gone, Phil Foden skipped past Djordje Petrovic after a terrific through ball from Kevin De Bruyne, but the angle was too tight and Marc Cucurella headed his chip away from danger.

While Guardiola's men had more of the ball as expected, uncharacteristic sloppiness was creeping into their play, and Chelsea looked particularly dangerous when winning the ball back and launching quick counter-attacks.

Sometimes, it took just one pass for the Blues to carve City's backline open, as Enzo Fernandez slipped in an onside Jackson in the 29th minute, but rather than simply try to pick the corner, he elected to skip past Ortega - a poor decision as two City defenders got back to help snuff out the danger.

Cole Palmer was the next to work a yard of space inside the box in the 37th minute, but he did not get enough bend on his low strike to beat a diving Ortega, and Pochettino ought to have been the happier manager at the break.

Bernardo Silva goes from zero to hero

A half-time change for Man City at the back saw Ruben Dias take John Stones's spot, and the Portuguese formed part of a Citizens rearguard which again came under siege right at the start of the second 45.

Thankfully for Guardiola, Jackson was in one of his wasteful moods, firing a low shot which Ortega saved comfortably in the 49th minute, before heading a close-range attempt straight at the German's body a few seconds later.

Just four moments later, Petrovic had to be alert to keep out Foden's first-time strike after a smart cutback from Jack Grealish, who was then at the centre of controversy as Palmer's free kick struck his outstretched arm before going behind.

Despite Palmer's fierce protestations, the VAR room did not see enough in the incident to send Michael Oliver to the screen, but the official then incorrectly resumed play with a goal kick for the holders.

Grealish was then brought off for the dangerous Jeremy Doku in the 66th minute, but only after he was caught by a high tackle from an already-booked Moises Caicedo, who avoided further punishment - much to Grealish's fury as he remonstrated with the fourth official.

Chelsea continued to launch a barrage of attacks at City's defensive shield, but the final ball was lacking for Pochettino's side, who were punished for their profligacy in the 84th minute of the semi-final.

The lively Doku was unsurprisingly involved, playing a neat pass to De Bruyne in the right-hand side of the box, and the Belgian's cutback was deflected off the foot of Petrovic into the path of Silva, whose low strike hit Cucurella en route to the back of the net.

The Portuguese's goal saw him complete his redemption tale after his shocking penalty miss in midweek, and eight minutes of injury time was not enough for Chelsea to make their own amends for their lack of ruthlessness.

Pochettino's side have no time to dwell on their Wembley disappointment as they gear up for a top-flight trip to Arsenal on Tuesday, two days before Guardiola's men head to Brighton & Hove Albion.

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