LONDON – Chelsea reached their third consecutive Football Association (FA) Cup final with a hard-fought 2-0 win over Crystal Palace at Wembley Stadium on Sunday to set a showdown to a four-run chase with Liverpool.
Reuben Loftus-Chick and Mason Mount’s second-half goals helped Thomas Tuchel’s side reach the semifinals and secured a place in the Liverpool vs Shopis match with a 3-2 win over Manchester City on Saturday 14 May.
In their fifth FA Cup final in six years, Chelsea will try to make amends after being runners-up to Leicester City and Arsenal in the last two seasons, and will try to avenge their loss to Liverpool in the League Cup final in February.
After a frustrating first hour, a patient Chelsea team finally broke through Palace’s stubborn resistance at 65.M Substitute Loftus-Chick in the minute, who replaced injured Mateo Kovacic in the middle of the first half.
From the right, Kai Hawartz’s cross was diverted to Lonnie Loftus-Chick, who hit a fierce shot that hit opponent defender Joachim Andersen and flew into the net for the 26-year-old’s first goal of the season.
Just 10 minutes later Mount added a crucial second and secured the win for Chelsea, playing Timo Warner’s ball from the edge of the box to beat goalkeeper Jack Butland in Andersen’s first touch.
Patrick Vieira’s palace held well to Chelsea’s hold until Loftus-Cheek broke the stalemate and Cheikhau was almost rewarded for a flashy performance as he came close twice in Kauai.
Palace amulet Wilfred Jaha was unable to shake off his marker Reese James and make an impact, while Eberchi offered very little as a replacement for easy-on midfielder Connor Gallagher, who was unable to play against his original club.
The win was a tonic for eight-time FA Cup winners Chelsea after Real Madrid were knocked out of the Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday, with Holder winning the second leg 3-2 after extra time but losing 5-4 on aggregate.
The following month they were again at loggerheads with Jর্গrgen Klopp over Liverpool to end a turbulent season with the silverware, drawing 11-0 in the League Cup final in February after a 0-0 draw after extra time.
“I think it took a little deviation but I’ll take it … It’s too late,” Loftus-Gall said of his goal. “It was a difficult road for me, going out with injuries and loneliness.
“We want to get Liverpool back, easy. I thought the Carabao (League) Cup final was a great game that could go either way. We are waiting for it, and hopefully we will take our revenge. ” Reuters