LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 15: Frank Lampard of Chelsea celebrates with Didier Drogba as he scores their fourth goal from a free kick during the FA Cup with Budweiser Semi Final match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on April 15, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

FA Cup Semifinals: Chelsea Defeat Spurs 5-1 Setting Up Final With Liverpool

A second half packed with goals and controversy eventually ended with Chelsea beating Spurs 5-1 to setup a May date with Liverpool in the FA Cup Final.

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Tottenham Hotspur Vs. Chelsea, FA Cup Semifinal 2012: Chelsea Beat Spurs 5-1 To Book Final With Liverpool

It was a controversial and action-packed second half, but Chelsea are going back to Wembley in May to take on Liverpool in the FA Cup Final after defeating Tottenham Hotspur 5-1 today.

The second period was a complete turnaround form the way the first started, with incident and controversy right from the whistle.

Dider Drogba's mazy dribble in the 48th minute led to Juan Mata's shot being turned away for a corner, and that's where it all began. From the corner, David Luiz got a good head to the ball, forcing Carlo Cudicini into a point blank save. In the ensuing goalmouth scramble, Mata turned the ball toward goal, and claimed the ball crossed the line past the pile of bodies. Replays showed that Martin Atkinson got the decision to allow the goal horribly wrong, as it hadn't crossed the line. Needless to say, Spurs were furious.

Perhaps inspired by the injustice, managed to hit back straight away, and in the 55th minute, Gareth Bale had pulled on back for Spurs, however this itself was not without its own controversy. A brilliant ball by Scott Parker sent through Emmanuel Adebayor. The Togolese hitman charged toward the onrushing Petr Cech, and was brought down by the Czech keeper. It was a certain sending off and penalty had it not been for Bale putting the ball into an empty net.

Gary Cahill, on as a substitute for David Luiz, who pulled up injured chasing down Adebayor for the Spurs goal, could have made it 3-1 when his turn and half-volley went over the bar, while Adebayor himself could have equalized from a header during a slew of Spurs corners.

With 15 minutes to play though, the game was put out of reach when Ramires beat the offside trap, ran on to Mata's perfectly weighted ball to dink it over Cudicini to give Chelsea a 3-1 lead.

Not that Chelsea were done scoring, as in the 80th minute, just to make absolutely sure that Chelsea would be headed to Wembley again in May, Frank Lampard hit a stunning freekick from over 25-yards to seal the deal. Swerving this way and that, Cudicini stood no chance.

With Spurs physically and emotionally shattered and Chelsea on a high, the final moments of the game were little more than a procession for the Blues. That however didn't stop Florent Malouda putting the icing on the cake with a fifth goal in the 93rd minute of the game. Played through, and against tired legs, it was an easy finish for the Frenchman to lift the ball over Cudicini. All of a sudden the earlier controversy seems so insignificant.

For more post-match reaction head to our Chelsea site, We Ain't Got No History. Or for Spurs fans reactions head to Cartilage Free Captain.


Tottenham Hotspur Vs. Chelsea, FA Cup Semifinal 2012: Drogba's Wondergoal Has Chelsea 1-0 Up At Halftime

Dider Drogba's incredible first half goal has given Chelsea the lead at halftime in today's FA Cup Semifinal, after a slow and sloppy first half was lit up by a moment of pure magic from the Ivorian striker.

The game didn't get off to the best of starts when during a moment's silence for the victims of the Hillsborough Disaster and Piermario Morosini was interrupted by small group of very vocal fans who couldn't pay their respects.

Once the football started it wasn't a whole lot better as we saw a slow and sloppy start from both sides.

Dider Drogba sailed a freekick over the crossbar from distance after 9 minutes, then moments later miscued horribly when attempting a half volley which if caught cleanly, could well have burst the net.

At the other end, Rafael Van Der Vaart sent a shot well wide from a similar distance to Drogba's earlier freekick, after some good work from Aaron Lennon on the counter attack played the Dutchman in.

Spurs began to fight back after being territoriality dominated by Chelsea, and Scott Parker's surging run seemed to inspire his side somewhat, as Lennon and Emmanuel Adebayor both began to create chances in and around Petr Cech's goal.

On 25 minutes Ledley King powered a header from a corner towards the Chelsea goal, however Solomon Kalou did exceptionally well to head out and away from on his own goal line, keeping the West Londoners in the tie.

Kalou was at the heart of the action just one minute later when he broke on the counter attack, took his time well and played an inch perfect ball to Juan Mata who was joining him in attack. Unfortunately for the Blues, the Spaniard just couldn't quite get control of the ball when it eventually arrived, meaning the most clear cut chance of the game to this point was squandered.

Spurs had their own wonderful chance when neat play between Van Der Vaart and Lennon lead to the England winger playing the ball back across goal, and Van Der Vaart directing a thumping header towards goal from inside the sex-yard box. On the line though was John Terry to thwart the effort and clear to safety.

Chelsea continued to ride their luck in the 39th minute when Van Der Vaart floated a cross in towards an unmarked Adebayor. The Togolese striker didn't manage to connect, but the ball bounced up and off the post, much to the relief of Cech who was a mere bystander during the play.

In the 43rd minute, The blues had the lead after an incredible strike from Didier Drogba. A long ball hoisted forward to the Ivorian was well controlled, before Drogba turned William Gallas well, then fired an unstoppable and venomous drive past Carlo Cudicini with his left foot from a tight angle. A world class goal.

Spurs will have it all to do in the second half, but have created some openings so shouldn't lose heart just yet.

For more on the game head to our Tottenham Hotspur site, Cartilage Free Captain, or for a Chelsea view on things head to We Ain't Got No History.


Tottenham Hotspur Vs. Chelsea, FA Cup Semifinal 2012: Lineups

London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea head to Wembley Stadium today to decide who will take on Liverpool in the FA Cup Final on May 5th.

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp, perhaps controversially, stuck to his regular cup tactics of picking reserve team goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini ahead of Brad Friedel while the rest of the lineup has a very familiar look to it with Scott Parker anchoring the midfield, allowing Aaron Lennon, Luka Modric and Gareth Bale to get forward in support of Rafael Van Der Vaart and Emmanuel Adebayor.

Meanwhile, Chelsea's current boss, Roberto Di Matteo, picked a very strong lineup, including the experienced heads of Frank Lampard, John Terry and Didier Drogba, while Salomon Kalou gets another start ahead of Fernando Torres, as the Ivorian enjoys a new lease of life under the Italian manager.

Tottenham Hotspur Lineup (4-4-1-1): Carlo Cudicini; Kyle Walker, William Gallas, Ledley King, Benoit Assou-Ekotto; Aaron Lennon, Scott Parker, Luka Modric, Gareth Bale; Rafael Van Der Vaart; Emmanuel Adebayor

Substitutes: Brad Friedel, Ryan Nelsen, Danny Rose, Giovani Dos Santos, Jake Livermore, Sandro, Jermain Defoe

Chelsea Lineup (4-3-3): Petr Cech; Jose Bosingwa, David Luiz, John Terry, Ashley Cole; John Obi Mikel, Frank Lampard, Ramires; Juan Mata, Didier Drogba, Solomon Kalou

Substitutes: Ross Turnbull, Gary Cahill, Michael Essien, Raul Meireles, Florent Malouda, Daniel Sturridge, Fernando Torres

The game kicks off at 1 p.m. ET, and 6 p.m. UK time. It will be shown live on Fox Soccer Channel (USA), Sportsnet World (Canada) and ITV1 (UK).

For more buildup to the game check out our Tottenham Hotspur site, Cartilage Free Captain, and our Chelsea site, We Ain't Got No History.


Liverpool Vs. Everton, FA Cup Semifinal 2012: Liverpool Win 2-1 After Andy Carroll's Late Goal

Liverpool booked a trip to the FA Cup final for the 14th time in their history as second half goals from Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll lead them to a come-from-behind victory over crosstown rivals Everton in today's FA Cup Semifinal.

The second half opened with Liverpool pressing for an equalizing goal, but unfortunately for them the first chance they had fell to Andy Carroll. For former Newcastle United striker's unmarked header from inside the six-yard box on 47 minutes, predictably, went well wide of Tim Howard's goal.

Liverpool eventually did get an equalizer on 62 minutes when Luis Suarez capitalized on a huge mistake from Sylvain Distin. Having done the hard work and turned Suarez, the French defender's back pass was under hit to Howard, allowing Suarez a clean run at goal. The Uruguayan made no mistake in slotting the ball coolly under Howard sending the fans behind the goal into raptures.

Through the second half Everton seemed to struggle with Liverpool's quick interplay, and fast counter attacks, and really a shadow of the defensive steel shown in the first half. Manager David Moyes moved to remedy this by bringing on the more defensive minded Seamus Coleman for Magaye Gueye shortly after the Suarez goal. Sensing blood, Liverpool introduced Maxi Rodriguez for Jordan Henderson.

Leon Osman tested Brad Jones with a swerving effort on 76 minutes, which nearly caught the Australian goalkeeper out as what should have been a routine stop turned into a nervy moment.

The ball went straight down the other end however, and as Suarez and Steve Gerrard flew into tackles in and around the Everton penalty area, Andy Carroll picked up the ball and flashed a shot just inches wide as the final ten minutes approached.

Liverpool saw a penalty appeal turned down in the 83rd minute when following a bit of a scramble, there were calls for handball against an Everton defender, however they fell on deaf ears, and would have only masked the fact that Carroll missed another easy chance during the melee.

With four minutes remaining in normal time, Carroll went from villain to hero as he handed Liverpool a deserved lead for their second half endeavor. Having won a freekick near teh corner flag after Coleman's rash challenge on Gerrard, the ball was floated into the area, and Carroll flicked the ball into the far corner of Howard's goal, giving the American no chance, an shattering the hearts of 30,000 Everton fans inside Wembley Stadium.

It could have been three on 89 minutes when Maxi Rodriguez got a toe to a Suarez cross, but Howard this time kept his side in with brief glimmer of hope with four minutes of stoppage time approaching.

However it was to be Liverpool's day as no chance came for Everton, who paid the price for a disastrous second half showing, and will be returning to Wembley in a few weeks time to play either Tottenham Hotspur or Chelsea in the final.

For more thoughts and reaction to todays game check out our Liverpool site, Anfield Asylum, and for an Everton slant check out Royal Blue Mersey.


Liverpool Vs. Everton, FA Cup Semifinal 2012: Everton Lead 1-0 At Halftime

Everton have the upper hand at halftime as Croation striker Nikica Jelavic's 24th minute strike has given the Toffees a 1-0 lead in the FA Cup semifinal against local rivals Liverpool.

A thunderous noise from both sets of fans got the game underway, and it was Liverpool who had the first strike on goal, as some good running by Andy Carroll allowed the gangly striker the chance to hold the ball up and play in Jay Spearing who's measured effort went narrowly over Tim Howard's crossbar with only 3 minutes on the clock.

Everton's first chance of the game came after just 6 minutes when Daniel Agger cynically blocked off Nikica Jelavic 25-yards from goal, however Leighton Baines direct strike from the freekick wasn't troubling stand-in goalkeeper Brad Jones.

Liverpool won a dangerous freekick of their own in the 14th minute when Luis Suarez was tripped on the edge of the area by Sylvain Distin, however Stewart Downing could only smash the ball into the wall, while Martin Skrtel's effort on the rebound was tame, and straight at Howard.

Everton made the breakthrough in the 24th minute after some calamitous defending from Liverpool. Jamie Carragher and Daniel Agger both waited for each other to do something inside the area. In the end, all that happened was Carragher cannoned the ball into Tim Cahill, with the ball breaking to an unmarked Jelavic to slot past Jones from close range.

Everton might want to have considered themselves lucky to be ahead, as on the TV replays it showed Jelavic was ever so slightly offside before scoring the games opening goal. Not that anyone at the time seemed to complain.

As the half continued, Liverpool looked decidedly toothless in their attempts to get back into the game, where as Everton were standing strong, and looking like they could increase their lead in a very open and exciting game.

For more thoughts and reaction to todays game check out our Liverpool site, Anfield Asylum, and for an Everton slant check out Royal Blue Mersey.


Liverpool Vs. Everton, FA Cup Semifinal 2012: Lineups

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has chosen to start the game with a front two pairing of Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll, while Spanish left-back Jose Enrique drops out of the side. Third choice goalkeeper Brad Jones starts asPepe Reina and Doni are both suspended.

Meanwhile Everton boss David Moyes, currently celebrating a decade as Blues boss, includes the returning Tim Cahill, Nikica Jelavic, Sylvain Distin and Leighton Baines, who all sat out the Easter Monday win over Sunderland.

Liverpool Starting Lineup (4-4-2): Brad Jones; Glen Johnson, Jamie Carragher, Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger; Jordan Henderson, Jay Spearing, Steven Gerrard, Stewart Downing; Luis Suarez, Andy Carroll.

Substitutes: Peter Gulasci, Jose Enrique, Maxi Rodriguez, Dirk Kuyt, Jonjo Shelvey, Martin Kelly, Craig Bellamy.

Everton Starting Lineup (4-4-1-1): Tim Howard; Phil Neville, John Heitinga, Sylvain Distin, Leighton Baines; Leon Osman, Darron Gibson, Marouane Fellaini, Magaye Gueye; Tim Cahill; Nikica Jelavic.

Substitutes: Marcus Hahnemman, Tony Hibbert, Phil Jagielka, Denis Stracqualursi, James McFadden, Seamus Coleman, Victor Anichebe.

Kick off is at 7:30am ET, and 12:30pm UK time, and is available on Fox Soccer Channel (USA), Sportsnet World (Canada) and ESPN (UK).

For more on the game check out our Liverpool site, Anfield Asylum, and our Everton site, Royal Blue Mersey.


FA Cup 2012, Semifinal Preview And Fixtures: Two Great Local Derbies

The FA Cup semifinals start early on Saturday at Wembley Stadium with the first of two local derbies.

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