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Tuchel to get his first taste of Wembley after Blades scare

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Chelsea's Hakim Ziyech scores their decisive second goal against Sheffield United. Photo: Toby Melville/Reuters

Chelsea's Hakim Ziyech scores their decisive second goal against Sheffield United. Photo: Toby Melville/Reuters

Chelsea's Hakim Ziyech scores their decisive second goal against Sheffield United. Photo: Toby Melville/Reuters

CHELSEA 2, SHEFFIELD UNITED 0

While the prospect of Manchester City completing an unprecedented quadruple remains very much alive, Thomas Tuchel could finish his first half-season in charge of Chelsea with two trophies and a minor miracle of his own.

Chelsea did not particularly look like potential double cup winners yesterday, but they added an FA Cup semi-final place to the Champions League quarter-final spot they had booked a few days earlier.

It was not until substitute Hakim Ziyech netted in time added on that Chelsea could breathe easy.

An Oliver Norwood own goal had given the hosts the lead, but Sheffield United will still be wondering how they did not force extra time.

David McGoldrick missed a sitter with his head for the Premier League’s bottom club, who had been thrashed 5-0 by Leicester City in Paul Heckingbottom’s first game in charge, Kepa Arrizabalaga made a good save from Ollie McBurnie and substitute Rhian Brewster was inches from an equaliser before Ziyech struck.

Quite how Chelsea managed to keep a seventh successive clean sheet is anybody’s guess, but there remains a growing sense that they have momentum and fortune in their favour for the run-in.

Tuchel also revealed that the semi-final trip to Wembley would be his first, saying: “I have never been, as a coach or as a spectator, so I am excited about that. It was a big personal target and a target for the club.

“We allowed Sheffield United two big chances and we were lucky to keep a clean sheet, but our target was to get to a quarter-final and a semi-final, and we have achieved both.”

First-choice goalkeeper Edouard Mendy was not on the substitutes’ bench and he will undergo an operation on a tooth during the international break that will prevent him from joining up with Senegal, while Tammy Abraham pulled out of training on Saturday and a scan showed he has bruising on the bone of an ankle.

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Having made changes to the starting line-up, the fact that the team who finished this tie, following Tuchel’s substitutions, resembled the one who had seen off Atletico Madrid in the Champions League showed how hard United eventually pushed them.

“It’s a tough one to take because we’ve been knocked out and I feel the game was there for us,” said interim manager Heckingbottom. “Nobody could have argued if we had gone to extra time or won 2-1, but we missed big chances.”

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2021]


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