Chelsea thumped Manchester United at the Wembley stadium to march into the FA Cup final. An own goal, accompanied by strikes from Olivier Giroud and Mason Mount secured the much-needed victory for the Blues. A late penalty from Bruno Fernandes reduced the deficit but was far from enough.
Goalkeeping errors from David de Gea and an overall passive performance from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side meant they were never really at Chelsea's level.
It was a fair slow-burner in the opening exchanges of the game, as both teams plotted a three-man back line to cancel each other out on tactical terms.
There were just two shots on target from both sides combined in the first 30 minutes or so, while the overall proceedings and physical battles made up for a real slug fest. In that time, unfortunately, Manchester United centre-half Eric Bailly was stretchered off following a head-on collision with Harry Maguire.
Deep into injury time in the first-half, a sublime piece of play from Willian and Cesar Azpilicueta set the latter free, after which he crossed to goalscorer Giroud.
The Frenchman continued his prime form for Chelsea with a lovely finish from near post, getting the better of Maguire with his movement.
It was a well-taken, typical striker's finish, but de Gea's shot-stopping came under suspicion. While that was debatable on the surface level, his failure in keeping out Mason Mount's effort early on in the second half only added to his catalogue of high profile errors at Manchester United this season.
Chelsea didn't sit back from then on, pressing United on in their half and still managing the better chances. They continued to win the ball back repeatedly and close down on red shirts in tight areas.
Manchester United were then handed the sucker punch by Chelsea on the back off some ponderous play in possession. The Blues, for the umpteenth time, pick-pocketed them as Alonso whipped in a dangerous cross towards Rudiger of all players. The ball deflected off Maguire's toes into the back of net.
Bruno Fernandes did score a consolation goal to salvage something minute for the Red Devils, after Callum Hudson-Odoi gave away a cheap foul of Anthony Martial.
After three defeats earlier to the same opposition, Chelsea had the last laugh. Frank Lampard will now lead his Blues side at Wembley, against Arsenal, for the FA Cup final.
As for United, a 19-game unbeaten run finally came to an end in a game where they just did not show up. The battle for the top four, however, still continues between these two giants.Published 20 Jul 2020, 00:54 IST