Blues batter the Lilywhites
Written By: Robert Halter
London was calling as Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur met in a capital showdown at Wembley Stadium as the second of the F.A. Cup semi finals took place the following day on Sunday, April 15. Juan Mata wasted the first opening on twenty six minutes as his final touch let him down, after Salomon Kalou had unlocked the Spurs defence. Kalou created another chance on the half hour mark, when he supplied a cross to Didier Drogba, whose strong header flashed past the goal. But it was Spurs that were denied a goal on thirty six minutes, when Blues captain John Terry cleared off the line a header from Rafael Van der Vaart, as from Emmanuel Adebayor’s left wing cross, Aaron Lennon had put the ball back to Van der Vaart. Three minutes later, the Lilywhites went even closer to scoring, when Van der Vaart’s long ball in was flicked against the left hand post by Adebayor as the unmarked Spurs striker left Petr Cech stranded. Such can be the cruelty of football, that against the run of play Chelsea took the lead on forty three minutes when from Frank Lampard’s punt forward from his own half, Drogba cut inside his marker William Gallas, to thrash the ball past Carlo Cudicini into the left side of the net. It was Chelsea that were quickest out of the blocks for the second half when Kalou put Mata in the clear but his low drive was turned away by Cudicini. From Lampard’s resulting corner, David Luiz powered a header against Cudicini, which was followed up by Mata’s low strike which was adjudged to have crossed the line despite the ball hitting his own captain Terry, who was lying in a heap surrounded by Spurs defenders but despite Tottenham’s protests, the goal was awarded by referee Martin Atkinson as the Blues raced to a two nil lead in the forty ninth minute. Spurs pulled a goal back on fifty six minutes when Scott Parker’s through ball split open the Blues defence and Adebayor charged past Luiz before being pulled down by Cech in the area but Gareth Bale was on hand to pick up the loose ball and roll it into an empty net. Luiz picked up an injury in the process and was taken off on a stretcher to be replaced by Gary Cahill. The Blues went close from another Lampard corner on the hour mark, as Terry’s header was hooked off the line by Benoit Assou-Ekotto. It was a sea of blue in celebration when a well crafted lob by Mata put Ramires clean through and with just Cudicini to beat, he chipped the ball over the top of the Spurs goalkeeper in the seventy seventh minute. Three became four, when Gallas pulled down Drogba in the eighty first minute and from the resulting long range free kick, Lampard bent the ball around the Spurs wall into the right side of the net with a perfect execution of the dead ball. In stoppage time, the rout was complete when Florent Malouda added a fifth, after Mata’s chip put Malouda through on goal and with Cudicini in his way, he slid the ball across the Spurs keeper into the right side of the net as Chelsea set up a return visit at the national stadium to face Liverpool in the F.A. Cup Final on the same Saturday, May 5 that both teams were due to meet in the Premier League at Anfield but the Blues were now looking to avenge two defeats against the Reds that took place at Stamford Bridge in the Premiership and Carling Cup during the season.