Chelsea edge Tottenham in thrilling Cup semi-final

Chelsea extended Tottenham’s 26-year wait for an FA Cup final appearance with a ruthless 4-2 semi-final win at Wembley.

A brace from Willian in the first half, followed by goals from Eden Hazard and Nemanja Matic saw Spurs knocked out of the competition, after Harry Kane and Dele Alli had twice brought their side back into the game.

Tottenham have now lost their last seven FA Cup semi-finals, a record which stretches back to when the club last lifted the trophy in 1991.

Mauricio Pochettino’s team enjoyed a greater share of the possession and often appeared to be on the front foot in a hotly-contested London derby.

However, The Blues put Tottenham to the sword with an excellent counter-attacking performance, scoring four times from just eight efforts on goal.

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte raised a few eyebrows before kick-off with after dropping Hazard and Diego Costa to the bench.

Willian and Michy Batshuayi were instead preferred and both had a role to play in the opening goal, which put Spurs on the back foot early on.

Batshuayi’s clever flick on the halfway line set Pedro loose in behind Tottenham’s back three, before he was scythed down on the edge of the area by Toby Alderweireld after just four minutes.

Willian’s resulting free kick took a slight deflection off Matic on the way through and managed to wrong-foot Hugo Lloris in the Spurs’ goal.

Tottenham then got back on level terms 14 minutes later, though an outstanding Kane header.

Britain Soccer Football – Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea – FA Cup Semi Final – Wembley Stadium – 22/4/17 Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante fouls Tottenham’s Dele Alli Action Images via Reuters / Carl Recine Livepic

Spurs’ top-scorer found space in the box and guided in a Christian Eriksen cross with his back facing goal moments after Chelsea had cleared a corner from the Dane.

With three minutes left to play in the first period, Tottenham gifted The Blues the lead at the break, when Son Heung-Min brought down Victor Moses in the box with an unnecessary sliding challenge.

Willian stepped up and calmly stroked the spot kick home, sending Lloris the wrong way.

Spurs once again found a way back into the game on 52 minutes, when Alli slid home 12 yards out to finish a pinpoint Eriksen ball from deep.

Sensing the momentum had swung back in Tottenham’s favour, Conte then introduced Costa and Hazard on the hour mark in a bid to restore his side’s lead.

And 15 minutes later, the Belgian playmaker nosed Chelsea in front for a third time, firing home left-footed from the edge of the area after Cesc Fabregas’s corner was cleared into his path.

Matic added a fourth for Chelsea five minutes later, to confirm Spurs’ exit from the competition, with a crashing, 30-yard drive, which clipped the underside of the bar before nestling in the Tottenham net.

Spurs will need to pick themselves up and carry on fighting Chelsea in the Premier League title race on Wednesday, when they travel to Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace.

Line-ups:

Tottenham

Lloris, Dier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Trippier, Son (Walker 68), Wanyama (N’Koudou 79), Dembele, Alli, Eriksen, Kane

Chelsea

Courtois, Ake, Luiz, Azpilicueta, Alonso, Moses, Matic, Kante, Pedro (Fabregas 73), Willian (Hazard 61), Batshuayi (Costa 61)

Attendance: 86,355

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