Tuesday 25 July 2017

Super subs prove the difference in FA Cup semi-final as Chelsea keep double dream alive

Chelsea 4 Spurs 2

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 22: Eden Hazard of Chelsea celebrates with Diego Costa of Chelsea after he scores his sides third goal during The Emirates FA Cup Semi-Final between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium on April 22, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 22: Eden Hazard of Chelsea celebrates with Diego Costa of Chelsea after he scores his sides third goal during The Emirates FA Cup Semi-Final between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium on April 22, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Simon Peach

Nemanja Matic's thunderbolt sent Chelsea into the FA Cup final in style, condemning Tottenham to yet more Wembley woe and giving Mauricio Pochettino's men a bloody nose ahead of the title run-in.

England's best sides took a break from their increasingly exciting duel for the Premier League crown, instead renewing hostilities in a Wembley battle that lived up to the hype.

Tottenham twice clawed their way back in this thrilling semi-final, only for Antonio Conte's table toppers to run out 4-2 victors as Matic's remarkable drive complemented game-changing substitute Eden Hazard's strike.

Whatever the pre-match posturing, ending Spurs' eight-match winning run in all competitions will give the Blues a psychological boost with six league games remaining.

Chelsea, four points clear of Tottenham, were ahead inside five minutes as Willian's free-kick flew home, scoring again from the spot after Harry Kane's flicked header had drawn Pochettino's side level.

Spurs showed impressive attitude and aptitude as Dele Alli converted Christen Eriksen's outstanding cross, but they would fall to a record seventh straight FA Cup semi-final defeat.

Hazard, surprisingly left out of the starting line-up, set the Blues on course for the final with a low drive followed up in style as Matic's rifled effort flew in off the underside of the bar.

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