Chelsea 2-0 Southampton: Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata set up Manchester United final
By James Walker-Roberts
Last Updated: 23/04/18 12:05am
Chelsea reached the FA Cup final for the second year in a row after goals from Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata secured a 2-0 win over Southampton at Wembley on Sunday.
Giroud showed fantastic composure and footwork to break Southampton's resistance less than a minute into the second half.
Morata then came off the bench and headed home in the 82nd minute to make sure of victory for Chelsea, who largely dominated as they set up a meeting with Manchester United in the same stadium on May 19.
Chelsea: Caballero (7), Azpilicueta (7), Cahill (7), Rudiger (7), Moses (7), Kante (7), Fabregas (7), Emerson (7), Willian (6), Giroud (8), Hazard (8)
Subs: Bakayoko (5), Morata (6), Pedro (5)
Southampton: McCarthy (6), Soares (6), Hoedt (5), Yoshida (6), Bednarek (5), Bertrand (6), Romeu (5), Hojbjerg (5), Lemina (6), Austin (5), Long (4)
Subs: Tadic (5), Redmond (5), Gabbiadini (5)
Man of the match: Eden Hazard
Saints had their moments in the second half, but at 1-0 they had a goal disallowed for a foul on Willy Caballero and saw Shane Long miss a glorious one-on-one chance, before Charlie Austin hit the post late on.
Saints now turn their attentions to trying to avoid relegation from the Premier League, while Chelsea will be aiming to end the season with silverware, having been beaten in last year's final by Arsenal.
Antonio Conte's side dominated the first half against a cagey Southampton as the lively Eden Hazard fired narrowly wide in the fifth minute before Willian cut inside in the box and hit a shot against the top of the bar.
Long and Austin looked isolated at the other end but Saints made it to half-time at 0-0 as Maya Yoshida denied Hazard with an excellent close-range block and Giroud was unable to hit the target with a couple of volleys.
However, the deadlock was broken less than a minute after the restart as Giroud showed fantastic control to evade several tackles and then poke home.
Caballero started in goal for Chelsea with Courtois not in the squad. Cahill, Emerson and Fabregas also made the XI while Giroud was preferred to Morata.
Southampton went with two up front in the shape of Austin and Long while Lemina started for the first time in a month.
Hazard curled narrowly wide moments later, before Long wasted a superb chance for Southampton when a heavy touch took him around Willy Caballero and knocked the ball out of play.
Saints threatened to get back into the game as Nathan Redmond was denied by a sharp stop from Caballero in the 70th minute
The Chelsea goalkeeper then dropped the ball over his line from a corner, only to be saved by the whistle for a free-kick against Austin.
Morata headed home in the 82nd minute to make it 2-0 and then spurned two more good openings after Austin had hit the post to cap off a frustrating day in front of goal for Saints.
- Mark Hughes is just the second manager to be eliminated from the FA Cup as manager of two Premier League teams (Stoke and Southampton) in a single season, after Glenn Hoddle in 2000-01 with Southampton and Spurs.
- The Blues have reached the FA Cup final in successive campaigns for the first time since 2009 and 2010, and the 13th in their history; only Arsenal (20), Man Utd (20) and Liverpool (14) progressing to the final on more occasions.
- Chelsea have won seven of their eight FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley (L1), with their only loss coming against Manchester City in 2013.
- Olivier Giroud has had a hand in 22 goals in his 26 FA Cup appearances (15 goals, 7 assists), more than any other player in the competition since his debut in January 2013.
- All seven of Cesar Azpilicueta's assists this season have come for Alvaro Morata (Premier League 6, FA Cup 1).
Antonio Conte: "The final is a game between two great teams. In my mind I can tell you that we played the final last season as favourites [against Arsenal] and this season we will not be favourites, but last season we lost the final. I have great respect for United's story and Jose Mourinho's story and I think they have the same respect for Chelsea's story and my story."
Mark Hughes: "There is disappointment from our point of view because there's the situation where the goalkeeper made a wrong decision and has basically thrown the ball into the back of his net because of poor goalkeeping. If ever there was a situation for VAR to step in and say we probably need to review that I would have thought that was the opportunity to do that.
"Clearly it's a match-defining moment and a key time for us, if we get the goal back then who knows how the game might have followed. Why it hasn't been referred I have no idea. Whether or not the referee's said it was a foul, which clearly it wasn't, all he probably knew was on his watch it lit up and told him it was a goal, but for whatever reason he didn't want to give that."
England World Cup watch
Gary Cahill did a solid job in defence for Chelsea, having been recalled to the side in place of Andreas Christensen. He largely kept Charlie Austin – an outside shot for Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad – quiet until late in the game when the striker hit the post.
Ryan Bertrand put in a positive display down the left side, although wasn’t able to get forward as much as he might have liked. Nathan Redmond was only given half an hour off the bench to impress but went close to scoring with a fizzing effort that Caballero did well to keep out.
Man of the match - Eden Hazard
Hazard looked bright and positive whenever he got on the ball, driving at Southampton defenders to open up spaces and showing off his impeccable close control. He did well to stay on his feet to set up Giroud's opener and almost went close himself shortly afterwards with a curling shot that went just wide. He will certainly be one for Manchester United to keep a close eye on in the final.
Chelsea travel to Swansea in the Premier League next Saturday before hosting Liverpool on Sunday, May 6, live on Sky Sports. Southampton continue their fight against relegation with a home game against Bournemouth next Saturday and then a trip to Everton on May 5.
Chelsea also have the FA Cup final to look forward to on May 19.
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