Sports Desk, Apr 17 (EFE).- Manchester City’s hopes of becoming the first team in English men’s soccer to win four trophies in a season were shattered Saturday as the Premier League champions-in-waiting lost the FA Cup semifinal 1-0 to Chelsea.
Three days after securing a berth in the Champions League final four and eight days before squaring off with Tottenham Hotspur in the Carabao Cup final, Pep Guardiola’s men were outplayed by the Londoners at Wembley.
Chelsea had more jump from the start and appeared to take the lead in the 6th minute when Hakim Ziyech hammered in a cross from Timo Werner. But the offside flag was up and VAR confirmed the decision.
Blues goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga dealt easily with a shot from City’s Gabriel Jesus just past 10 minutes.
Ben Chilwell and Reece James missed the mark on chances for Chelsea and City’s Fernandinho did the same at the other end in the final noteworthy sequence before the break.
Two minutes into the second half, City’s Kevin de Bruyne went down clutching his ankle. The medical staff went to his aid and quickly determined that he should come off.
Guardiola tapped Phil Foden, enjoying a good run of form, to replace the Belgian in midfield.
The young England international barely had time to settle in before City went behind in the 55th minute on a Ziyech goal that counted.
Mason Mount launched the attack with a ball to Werner behind the City defense. When keeper Zach Steffen came off his line, the German passed to the Moroccan, who scored into the unguarded yet.
Ziyech could have made it 2-0 in the 59th thanks to an error by City defender Ruben Dias, but he was bested by Steffen in the one v. one and the match remained within reach for Guardiola’s side with a half-hour left in regulation.
City’s best opportunities came on set pieces, including a Foden free kick that Rodri headed over the bar in the 69th minute.
Kepa wasn’t unduly troubled by Rodri’s low strike in the 82nd and City’s Raheem Sterling fired over the cross-bar a few minutes later.
US international Christian Pulisic, who came on in the 70th minute as a substitute for Mount, saw a goal disallowed for offside in stoppage time before Rodri forced Kepa into action to preserve the victory in what turned out to be the last significant action of the night.
Chelsea are headed to the FA Cup final for the fourth time in five seasons. The Blues have hoisted the trophy on eight occasions, the most recent being 2018, when they beat Manchester United.
They lost the 2020 final to Arsenal. EFE msg/dr