Published on Apr 15, 2013
Manchester City will join Wigan Athletic in The FA Cup Final after knocking out holders Chelsea in a cracking tie at Wembley on Sunday.
Roberto Mancini, who led City to FA Cup victory in 2011, will now be hoping to repeat that success on 11 May when they face north-west rivals Wigan.
But Mancini will be far from happy with the way his team ended this game, as after dominating the first hour, they were left hanging on against Rafa Benitez's resilient Blues.
Goals from Samir Nasri and Sergio Aguero had put City well in control, with 'keeper Costel Pantilimon left as a virtual spectator.
When Demba Ba reduced the arrears in the 66th minute though, the game swung and Chelsea will feel unfortunate not to have taken the match to extra time.
And City were forced to show their gritty side, as Chelsea threw men forward and really piled on the pressure in the closing stages.
It was all so different in the first half, as City made a strong start with Aguero forcing Petr Cech into a smart save after just six minutes
Another swift move involving Tevez and Gareth Barry then saw Cech save well again from Tevez's angled effort three minutes later.
Aguero was then denied again when he expertly controlled Vincent Kompany's long pass with his chest, only to see Branislav Ivanovic make a timely block in the box.
It was actually Chelsea who came closest to breaking the deadlock in the 24th minute though.
Kompany gave a free-kick away following a clumsy foul on Ba and when Juan Mata's cross was only half-cleared, Eden Hazard's 18-yard shot was bouncing in until his Belgian compatriot Kompany headed clear off the line.
But City deservedly took the lead ten minutes before the break as Yaya Toure played a pass into the box, which Aguero laid into the path of Nasri.
The Frenchman rode his luck slightly, with the ball bobbling back off Ivanovic into his path, but he made no mistake with the finish and tucked past Cech with ease.
And City nearly doubled their lead moments later as a loose ball in the area was smashed at goal by James Milner, but an offside Aguero blocked what would have been a certain second for City.
It was then Kompany's turn to fluff his lines, as Milner's powerful break down the left ended with a cross-shot towards the City captain, who could only shoot wide seconds before half-time.
But within two minutes of the re-start, City had a second goal and real control of the match, catching Chelsea out from the right, where Milner and Barry combined.
Barry was given too much time to weigh up his options and punished Chelsea by placing a cross into the area for Aguero, who directed a looping header over Cech and into the far corner.
Chelsea looked dead and buried, but seconds after the 66th minute introduction of sub Fernando Torres, they were given a lifeline to rock City and really liven up the contest.
It started with David Luiz's hopeful ball towards the City area and when Kompany missed his chance to clear, Ba needed no invitation and superbly manoeuvred himself to strike past a stunned Pantilimon.
With the impetus of that goal, Chelsea looked a different side and there were big shouts for a penalty soon after when Mata fell under Pantilimon's chellenge in the box.
The big Romanian 'keeper then pulled off a stunning save to stop Ba's close range shot, after Mata's cut back into the area.
It was all Chelsea by now, and Luiz came inches away from equalising when his free-kick flew just wide of the post after a Kompany foul on Hazard outside the area.
More penalty claims were ruled out by ref Chris Foy as Torres appeared to be man-handled in the box by a combination of Kompany and Joleon Lescott.
And Chelsea's final chance came and went with Hazard shooting wildly high and wide in stoppage time.
City were made to battle and scrap and ultimately held on, but Chelsea will be leaving Wembley disappointed not to have added another Cup Final appearance to their impressive recent record.
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