Chelsea v Manchester City – as it happened

Manchester City will play Wigan in the FA Cup final after surviving Chelsea's fightback, with Sergio Aguero's goal the difference between the two sides

So the FA Cup final, which will be held on 11 May, is Manchester City v Wigan. I fancy City might just be the favourites for that one. They were highly impressive for long periods today although it was a nervy finish after Demba Ba pulled one back for the holders. But Sergio Aguero's second-half header was enough and out Chelsea go. Another trophy slips away. Thanks for reading. Bye.

Full-time: Chelsea 1-2 Manchester City

That's it! Manchester City are through to the FA Cup final!

90 min+4: It's now or never for Chelsea. Cech has it. And forward they come. Ramires hoofs the ball forward. Kompany heads it away. Milner boots it away. Cech hoofs it back but it just won't fall for Chelsea. And...

90 min+3: The City fans are blowing for full-time now. There's another 90 seconds to go yet. Hazard surges inside from the left flank and spanks a shot well over the top.

90 min+2: Bertrand hangs a cross up into the area and there's the exemplary Pantilimon to claim it.

90 min+1: Where does Yya Toure get the energy? Again he marauds past Azpilicueta, making his way to the byline, but Aguero can't turn the ball in with Cech stranded. There will be four minutes of added time.

90 min: City are almost there.

87 min: Nasri off, Lescott on. There's no let-up in the action though. Chelsea keep turning City with balls over the top. Torres races on to it, holding off Kompany, who has a chunk of his shirt. No penalty and the ball runs away from Torres.


86 min: This is increasingly bad-tempered. Excellent.

85 min: Torres exacts some retribution on Aguero over on the right touchline, raking his studs down the back of his achilles. He's not booked. At least he hit the target.


82 min: Torres is this far away from getting on the end of Mata's searching pass over the top of the City defence. "Garcia," says Paul Ruffley. "So far giving his exemplary demonstration of watching the ball and opposition players go past him on either side. I try to see what he actually does, I really do."

81 min: Aguero is extremely fortunate not to be sent off after a two-footed stamp on Luiz, who had fallen over. Chris Foy can't have seen that because Aguero wasn't even booked. That is absolutely shocking. NOT THAT SORT OF PLAYER YEAH.


80 min: Toure almost makes the game safe for City. He surges past Luiz but as he goes to shoot he's just knocked off-balance slightly, which means he skews his shot wide from the edge of the area. That should have been a foul.

79 min: David Luiz goes for the Ronaldo-style free-kick but his effort whizzes a yard or two wide of the right post. It's a pretty cool technique.

78 min: Kompany is booked after bumping his fellow Belgian, Eden Hazard, to the floor 30 yards out. They'll make up with each other over a plate of waffles later, no doubt.


76 min: Torres shuffles past a City midfielder but sees his firm drive blocked. City are really hanging on now.

73 min: Carlos Tevez is replaced by the more defensive Javi Garcia. Or Yavvy Garcia if you listen to the PA. "Luzt?" says Mac Millings. "Ha! One of my worst "jokes" is about the man himself. I always purposely misspell his name because of his devastatingly handsome (yet terrifyingly serial-killeresque) byline pic."


70 min: This is Chelsea's now and all that stands between them and an equaliser is Costel Pantilimon, who has just had to make another save. Clichy tried to let a loose ball run out for a goal-kick but Hazard didn't give it up. He nipped around the left-back and cut it back to Ba, whose swivelled effort was pushed away by Pantilimon!

69 min: Suddenly City are rocking! They want to wake up sharpish because an equaliser is on the way. Hazard glides past Nastasic and tries to play Mata in. The ball's not got quite enough pace on it and Nastasic slides in, but can't stop it reaching Mata. He reacts quickly and tries to step past Pantilimon, who brilliantly claws the ball away from him!


68 min: City led 2-0 in their last appearance at Wembley - the 2011 Community Shield against Manchester United - and ended up losing 3-2...

GOAL! Chelsea 1-2 Manchester City (Ba, 67 min)

It's the Torres effect! Probably. With Torres and Ba to contend with now, City get themselves into a tangle after a fairly hopeful long ball into their box. Ba shrugs off Nastasic and then, with his back to goal, he hooks a stupendous acrobatic volley past Pantilimon from 12 yards out, the ball flying in off the inside of the left post. It's on!


66 min: Fernando Torres replaces John Obi Mikel. And...

65 min: Hazard dinks a clever cross to the far post to Ramires, who handily heads it back to Pantilimon.

64 min: Hazard, who has done next to nothing, steps inside and hammers one miles over from the left corner of the area. There's a lack of conviction about everything Chelsea are attempting.

63 min: Scrap that, Torres is going to come on soon.

62 min: Oscar diddles his way past Clichy on the right but his cross takes a deflection and flies safely to Pantilimon. Chelsea don't seem to have too many solutions at the moment.

61 min: Kompany has a pop from 30 yards out. Why not? Because it went over.

59 min: "Looking at city's recent performance, you get a feeling that some of the players might have got a mighty kick on the back along with an ultimatum to be shipped out come summer and hence we might be honoured to see nasri playing actual football!!" says Himanshu Jiit. "And that ultimatum might have been sounded out for manager as well... Certainly very few clubs can match city's payroll and hence extra motivation for non performing players..." 

Yes. You'd still expect players to be shipped out this summer. The first XI is very strong but there's not a lot of depth beyond it.

57 min: Oscar's shot takes a deflection and almost spins through to Ba, but Kompany reads the situation and heads the ball away to safety.

55 min: With more composure, City could fill their boots here. Toure and Tevez have both messed up really promising counter-attacks with poor final passes in the last few minutes.

54 min: "Dearest Jacob," begins Mac Millings. "What was the "err" in Alistair Elder's half-time email for? Unless I've missed something (likely), his joke doesn't work unless he spells it "komposure". And I should know. No one makes worse jokes on the MBM than me. NO ONE." What about Lutz?

52 min: Nastasic is only 20. Just think about that for a moment.

50 min: The way City have played in this game and at United makes it even more baffling that they have toiled so much this season.

49 min: Ramires spanks one well over from 30 yards out.

GOAL! Chelsea 0-2 Manchester City (Aguero, 47 min)

Well that didn't take long and Chelsea have a mountain to climb now. Gareth Barry is afforded far too much time and space to float an inviting cross into the area from the right and Aguero gets in between Ivanovic and Azpilicueta to direct a precise, looping header high into Cech's left corner from six yards out. There wasn't much pace on the ball but the direction was perfect. Cech didn't move.


46 min: Off we go again. More of the same please! And no sooner has the half started is Ramires booked after losing another tussle with Milner.


"Great fun this game," says Alistair Elder. "What was kompany doing at the end? 10/10 for getting up the pitch. Zero for execution. No surprise, I can't think of many central defenders who gallop 70 yards and still have the, err, composure to finish. Hackney marshes to wembley - it's not likely to happen."

Half-time: Chelsea 0-1 Manchester City

Peep! Peep! That's the end of that. City lead thanks to Samir Nasri's goal. They deserve it after a most entertaining half.

45 min+2: City make an almighty balls-up of a glorious chance to go into the break with a 2-0 lead. Chelsea made a hot mess of an attacking free-kick, allowing City to break at speed down the left. They had players flooding forward while Chelsea's were wheezing back and Milner was sent haring away after brushing Ramires aside. He had three or four men to pick out in the middle but his cross was dreadful, mishit towards Cech. He could only pat it out to Kompany though, but the defender sidefooted wide from 15 yards out. The ball arrived at him quickly, but even so.


45 min: Aguero tries to beat Luiz on the right of the area but there's no way round. Good defending. Chelsea try to break but Mikel is cynically tripped by Toure, who's booked.

43 min: This first half has flown by.

41 min: "Mata clearly thought about an impressively violent, flying slash at the back of Toure's legs in the build up to that goal," says Matt Dony. "It's a shame he's not 'that sort of player', because that would have spiced up the game for neutrals even more than the goal."

39 min: City could so easily be two up. Milner finds space on the edge of the area and pierces Chelsea's defence with a pass to his left for Aguero. He gets the ball stuck under his feet, allowing Cech to push it away. But only as far as Milner, who takes a touch to set himself and then swipes a volley against Aguero, who was offside by this point. Milner really ought to have done better there.

38 min: Chelsea look to hit back straight away but Mata's careful curler from the edge of the area curls too much, drifting beyond the far post.

GOAL! Chelsea 0-1 Manchester City (Nasri, 35 min)

It's going City's way now! Just as Chelsea were starting to feel more relaxed, Yaya Toure takes the game by the scruff of the neck and says "Mine!" He powered through the heart of the midfield as only Yaya Toure can charge through the heart of the middle and suddenly there was a huge gaping hole in the middle of Chelsea's defence. Toure rolled it into the space for Aguero, who touched it on to Nasri. For some reason he thought he was playing for Arsenal again and tried to play one more pass but an inadvertent deflection from Azpilicueta made up his mind for him and he thrashed the ball past Cech from close range.


34 min: This is fascinatingly poised. It's impossible to tell which way it's going to go. Both sides are playing really well.

31 min: The momentum has shifted and it's Chelsea who are on top. They took their time about it but now Hazard and Mata are becoming increasingly influential, which could spell trouble for City.

28 min: Chelsea appear to have woken up.

27 min: Ba is so unlucky here. Mikel pinged a glorious free-kick over the top of the City defence, where Nastasic had lost Ba. He peeled off his marker but was just unable to bring the ball down and, in all likelihood, score.

25 min: Gareth Barry is booked after a clumsy challenge on Ramires, who felt that one.

23 min: After all that City dominance, Chelsea almost take the lead. They finally had a chance to put City under some pressure after Ba won a cheap free-kick on the right touchline. Mata curled it into the six-yard box, where Pantilimon came and got nowhere near it. The ball was headed away but only as far as Hazard. With Pantilimon stranded, he struck an awkward volley that bounced up and over the bodies, only for Kompany to head it off the line.

22 min: This is a thrashing in all but the scoreline. Tevez plays a one-two with Zabaleta and then other with Aguero. His fierce shot from the edge of the area is blocked. There's an air of desperation about Chelsea's defending a the moment.

20 min: A straight ball down the middle from Kompany causes Chelsea's defence all sorts of bother. It finds Aguero, who's onside, and he takes the ball down on his chest before spanking a volley that's blocked by the recovering Ivanovic. "Townsend's latest inspired comment on ITV: "That's a yellow card....oh I like the fact that he hasn't given it...shows common sense"," says Michael Brown. "Truly worth every penny of his expert commentary."

19 min: Chelsea still aren't being allowed a kick, although City haven't created a chance for a few minutes now. But the game is being played exclusively in Chelsea's half and when they get the ball, they don't take long to lose it.

17 min: Oscar makes a fool out of Zabaleta with an amusing nutmeg so the right-back boots him up in the air. He's not booked.

15 min: Chelsea can't get Mata, Hazard and Oscar in the game. I will not call them Matazcar.

14 min: And still City press. Nasri feeds Milner on the right but his cross is awful.

12 min: Can Chelsea play too?

10 min: City are all over Chelsea. The speed of their play is breathtaking. On the edge of the area rat-a-tat passing between Tevez, Nasri and Aguero gets Tevez in behind on the right of the area. He's just forced wide but instead of crossing he tries to beat Cech at his near post. Cech beats it behind again. City have gone close two or three times already.

8 min: Mata tries to pick out Ba in the middle but his pass is too close to Pantilimon. City look really confident, whereas Chelsea haven't quite clicked yet.

7 min: This has been a breathless start.

6 min: Clichy charges away from Mikel and wins a free-kick 30 yards from goal. They don't wait around though and it's quickly worked to Nasri, who twists and turns before seeing his shot deflected behind for a corner on the left. The corner's half-cleared but Barry turns it back into the area. Toure prods it half-heartedly goalwards and Aguero, possibly standing in an offside position, tries to help it past Cech, who dives to his right to push it behind. Excellent save.

4 min: City have settled well. They're bossing possession and are setting about Chelsea at a brisk pace. Chelsea haven't got going yet and they're on the back-foot as Toure swats Hazard aside and powers through the middle, before slipping a pass through to Aguero on the left. He fires into the side-netting from a tight angle.

2 min: I see empty seats. But there's quite the racket all the same. "We know what we are, champions of Europe, we know what we are!" Sloop John B the Chelsea fans. "Until May," as Arsene Wenger said on Friday.

Peep! Off we go. City, in their light blue shirts, get the game underway. They're attacking from left to right. Chelsea are in their dark blue away kits. Meanwhile whoever the clown is who's running the PA system at Wembley needs to have a word with himself. Instead of letting the crowd noise build organically, we were instead treated to yet more tinny dirge.

And out they stride, on to the Wembley pitch. Apparently there was a huge roar from the fans as they emerged but overblown music is getting in the way of it. Both sides are wearing blue tracksuit tops; Chelsea's are darker.

The teams are in the tunnel. The Wembley tunnel. They'll be playing an FA Cup semi-final soon!

The teams are in. And there's no David Silva for Manchester City, but Sergio Aguero is in after his solo brilliance against Manchester United. The balance of that man. Joe Hart is dro... Costel Pantilimon plays, as he has done throughout City's Cup run this season. As for Chelsea, barring injuries, they've put their best team out. Which means no John Terry and no Frank Lampard.

Chelsea: Cech; Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, David Luiz, Bertrand; Ramires, Mikel; Hazard, Mata, Oscar; Ba. Subs: Turnbull, Terry, Ake, Lampard, Benayoun, Moses, Torres.

Manchester City: Pantilimon; Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy; Yaya Toure, Barry; Milner, Tevez, Nasri; Aguero. Subs: Hart, Kolo Toure, Lescott, Kolarov, Garcia, Sinclair, Dzeko.

Referee: Chris Hoy Foy.


Afternoon. Everything's coming up Rafael Benitez. Chelsea are in the semi-finals of the Europa League, a top-four finish is on and they could reach their fourth FA Cup final in five years this afternoon. Waddaamanager! With a record like that, he's bound to be a Chelsea legend in no time. Or not. Of course, Chelsea's fans will tell you that Benitez succeeding isn't going to make them like him any more as their distaste for the former Liverpool manager is more visceral than that. This one's personal. But still, even they would accept that it's all come together quite nicely for Chelsea in the last few weeks. Heck, even Fernando Torres has managed to locate the big rectangular sticky thing.

The problem for Chelsea might be that suddenly it looks like Manchester City have started rediscover the poise of old. It's surely arrived too late to mount a last-gasp bid to retain their title - odds of 50/1 last time I checked - but it at least means that City can perhaps go into the summer with renewed confidence. Their performance at Old Trafford last Monday showed that there's no way they should have been 12 points behind Manchester United, much to Roberto Mancini's frustration, and they could yet end the season with the FA Cup added to their trophy cabinet. They could have done with the likes of Yaya Toure, Sergio Aguero and Samir Nasri deciding to start their seasons before April though.

Kick-off: 4pm


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