Manchester City 1-0 Chelsea: Dreams of a domestic double live on as Silva bags late for City

Bernardo Silva’s 85th-minute goal was enough to see Manchester City past a spirited Chelsea side at Wembley Stadium, keeping hopes of a domestic doubler alive for Pep Guardiola’s side after their midweek exit from the UEFA Champions League.

For all their chances and ventures into the final third, Chelsea simply couldn’t apply the finishing touch – and it was Bernardo Silva that took advantage, his late strike crashing off Marc Cucurella en-route to the back of the net.

Manchester City will now face either Coventry City or Manchester United at Wembley Stadium on May 25, with the other semifinal to be played at 15:30 BST on Sunday.

As it happened

Mauricio Pochettino insisted that despite widespread criticism of an apparent scuffle over a penalty during Chelsea’s 6-0 drubbing of Everton on Monday, the altercation would have no impact on his squad selection for this highly-anticipated semifinal clash under the arch. The Argentine stuck to his word – naming both Nicolas Jackson and Noni Madueke alongside Cole Palmer as part of a formidable attacking lineup.

It was a decision that looked to pay dividends from the very start of Saturday evening’s clash at Wembley. Conor Gallagher played Palmer through on goal after just a matter of minutes, who selflessly sprayed the ball out wide for Jackson – but the Senegalese forward could only stand and watch in despair as his shot was held with ease by Stefan Ortega.

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Erling Haaland was nowhere to be seen in Manchester City’s matchday squad, with Julian Álvarez afforded a starting berth under the arch. He’d find himself playing an influential role throughout the first half, teeing up Kevin de Bruyne from a counterattack that came to a disappointing end when Jack Grealish rounded the keeper but blazed his effort harmlessly across the face of goal.

As the half-hour mark neared, Jackson latched onto a thunderous ball over the top from the City midfield, his blistering pace seemingly allowing him to beat the offside flag. Questionable decision making would let the forward man down though, with his ball into the box hoofed clear as he deliberated for too long after rounding Ortega.

The half-time team talks certainly didn’t detract from the tempo nor the tenacity of this enthralling semifinal affair. Chelsea had been unlucky not to take the lead just before the interval, with Palmer’s effort kept out by Ortega after a mazy run into the penalty area – and it would be Jackson’s turn to put the German to work at the start of the second half.

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It looked as though he’d forgotten to bring his shooting boots: two consecutive efforts, separated by just seconds, saw the Senegalese international denied his initial attempt and a later header from a Palmer cross. 

Chelsea fans would be further aggrieved when, in the 55th minute, a Palmer free-kick from a dangerous area on the edge of the box flew behind the byline – via a deflection, seemingly off the arm of Grealish. A brief VAR check ensued, finding no fault from the City winger, but Palmer was further incensed by the referee’s decision to award a goal kick.

It would be Manchester City that forced the opener though, five minutes from time. Kevin de Bruyne’s cutback from the byline was clipped towards Bernardo Silva by Djordje Petrović, with the Portuguese star’s resulting shot taking a sizeable deflection off Marc Cucurella before crashing onto the back of the net.

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A deep free-kick and a late corner would prove to be the last chances for Chelsea to draw level; their failure to do so leaves mixed emotions amongst the fanbase after the women’s team battled to secure a first-leg victory over Barcelona in the UEFA Women’s Champions League at lunchtime.

The lineups

MCI: Ortega; Aké, Akanji, Walker; Rodri, Stones; Grealish, De Bruyne, B Silva, Foden; Álvarez

CHE: Petrović; Cucurella, Chalobah, T Silva, Gusto; Caicedo, Fernández; Madueke, Gallagher, Palmer; Jackson