London, Mar 21 (efe-epa).- Chelsea on Sunday reached the FA Cup semifinals after defeating Sheffield United 2-0, in the process extending their unbeaten run to 14 games.
Although the Blues were the better team, they needed a bit of help from their rivals to break the scoreless deadlock in the 24th minute, when Ben Chilwell’s long-distance strike was deflected by Oliver Norwood into his own goal.
Chelsea, however, were unable to put the game out of Sheffield’s reach and were nearly punished by the Premier League bottom team as it carved out several decent scoring chances.
David McGoldric inexplicably sent a close-range header netwards although goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga blocked his effort.
The Spaniard also saved a shot by Olivier McBurnie from outside the area, while Rhian Brewster’s strike went just wide.
Chelsea had to wait until second-half stoppage time to secure the 2-0 thanks to Hakim Ziyech who connected with a Chilwell cross, sending the ball into the back of the net.
Coach Thomas Tochel blamed the struggle on the effort made by his team a few days ago, when they prevailed 2-0 over Atletico Madrid in the Champions League last-16 second leg to make the quarterfinals 3-0 on aggregate as well as on the changes he made on the starting lineup.
“I could feel a bit after the game against Atletico that we were a bit tired and I could feel that it was a huge effort also mentally against Atletico,” Tuchel said afterwards.
“For many minutes we suffered, we allowed two big chances and after that we were lucky to escape with the clean sheet, but there are a lot of circumstances to explain it. That is absolutely okay after 14 matches,” he added according to the club Web site.
The Blues will face either Leicester City or Manchester United in the semifinal, depending on who emerges victorious from that match later on Sunday. EFE-EPA