London ball

Chelsea 2-0 Crystal Palace: Thomas Tuchel’s side overcome south London club to prepare for Liverpool clash in FA Cup final

Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mason Mount scored for Chelsea as they beat Crystal Palace 2-0 in the FA Cup semi-final to set up a final with Liverpool next month.

Loftus-Cheek, who replaced the injured Mateo Kovacic midway through the first half, latched on to a loose ball in the box and his ferocious drive was helped on his way to the net by Joachim Andersen 20 minutes after the start of the second half.

Mount put the game beyond doubt with 14 minutes remaining when he played a one-two with Timo Werner at the edge of the palace area before waltzing towards goal and heading home.

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In a game of few shots on goal, Palace will miss two headed chances from corners Cheikhou Kouyate and Joachim Anderson, before and after Chelsea’s goals, neither of which found the target.

Romelu Lukaku, as a late substitute, almost added to the scoring in the 90th minute but could only hit the post from close range after Timo Werner squared the ball to him in the penalty area.

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SUBJECT OF DISCUSSION

Chance wasted by Palace – It was a game that felt there for the taking for Crystal Palace. Chelsea in the first half were off to a good start and didn’t start the second half in scintillating form, but the Eagles barely made it out of their half in the opening times after the restart. Patrick Vieira’s placid manner managed to get the most out of Palace’s squad, but what he needed was their players to play with the intensity of Vieira the player and take the game to a side of the Blues far from their best.

By letting Chelsea camp out in their own half, they put themselves at risk of error or sublime skill in deciding the game – and the former did, as hapless Tyrick Mitchell gave the ball away at 25 yards from goal, Kai Havertz was played into the box and the ball fell on Loftus-Cheek to break the deadlock.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea) – After being handed a starting spot at the Bernabeu, Loftus-Cheek would have been disappointed not to be selected to start this fixture but made it up to him when Kovacic’s injury presented him with an earlier-than-expected opportunity. The game had been lackluster up to that point and continued to be true, but at least Loftus-Cheek showed intent to lead the opposition and his attitude rubbed off on his teammates as they took control of the game in the second. half-time, culminating in him scoring the game’s crucial goal.

PLAYER EVALUATIONS

chelsea: Mendy 6; Azpilicueta 6, Christensen 6, Rudiger 6; James 6, Jorginho 6, Kovacic 6, Alonso 6; Mount 7, Havertz 6, Werner 7.

Subtitles: Loftus-Cheek 8*, Ziyech 6, Lukaku 5, Kante 6, Thiago Silva 6.

crystal palace: Butland 7, Ward 7, Guehi 7, Andersen 6, Mitchell 5; Kouyate 6, McArthur 7, Schlupp 6; Zaha 6, Eze 6; Matta 6.

submarines: Ayew 6, Olise 6, Benteke 6.

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

61′ KOUYATE NOT FAR! He jumps the highest to meet Eze’s corner but he misjudges the ball and cuts his shoulder before drifting away from goal.

65′ GOAL FOR CHELSEA! Loftus-Cheek strikes home on the half-volley after Mitchell gave the ball away and Havertz was allowed to run into the box, the ball fell on the England international whose effort deflected Andersen before s crush in the net.

76′ GOAL FOR CHELSEA! Mount scores his 12th goal of the season. Mount played a ball around the left edge of the penalty area to Werner who then found the young England star in the box with a side pass, waltzed and headed home.

78′ ANDERSEN HAD TO SCORING! Ayew fires in a corner at the near post and Andersen free at the far post couldn’t keep his head down.

90LUKAKU FINDS THE JOB! This time he expects Werner to put a ball into the penalty area, but sliding he hits the woodwork with Butland saving Ziyech’s rebound.

KEY STATISTICS

16 – Chelsea reach an FA Cup final for the 16th time.

3 – Mount has scored in three straight games for the first time in his career

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