Soccer: Chelsea thrash Tottenham to reach Cup final

Chelsea's Florent Malouda, right, is congratulated by team mate Fernando Torres after scoring a goal against Tottenham Hotspur. Photo / AP
Chelsea's Florent Malouda, right, is congratulated by team mate Fernando Torres after scoring a goal against Tottenham Hotspur. Photo / AP

Chelsea thrashed Tottenham 5-1 to set up an FA Cup final showdown with old rivals Liverpool after a Wembley semi-final tinged by controversy at Wembley today.

Goals from Didier Drogba, Juan Mata, Ramires, Frank Lampard and Florent Malouda helped Chelsea romp into their fourth FA Cup final in six years, with Tottenham's lone strike coming from Gareth Bale.

The win was the perfect preparation for Chelsea ahead of their Champions League semi-final first-leg meeting with Barcelona at Stamford Bridge on Thursday.

But the occasion was marred by controversy before and during the match, with sections of Chelsea's support chanting and jeering during a minute's silence prior to kick-off to mark the anniversary of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.

Chelsea were also the beneficiaries of a deeply controversial decision by referee Martin Atkinson for their second goal, scored by Mata, which replays suggested should not have stood.

Bale briefly gave Tottenham hope of a fightback with a goal on 56 minutes to make it 2-1 but a sublime finish from Ramires, a stunning 35-yard free-kick from Lampard and a late effort from Malouda took Chelsea out of sight.

Chelsea captain John Terry later admitted Mata's hugely controversial goal should not have been awarded.

"I thought Mata's strike hit me and didn't go over (the line), but the linesman's seen it and given it," Terry told BBC radio.

"I honestly don't think it went over the line but the linesman gave it and there's nothing we can do about that. Spurs are one of the best sides in the league. It was a great performance and a great result."

Earlier, Tottenham appeared to be the likeliest to break the deadlock in a first half that was slow to get going, only to be denied by the woodwork and a goal-line clearance from Terry.

Terry's last-ditch heroics came on 36 minutes when he blocked a close-range header from Rafael van der Vaart.

Four minutes later Spurs threatened again, when van der Vaart's long ball forward for Emmanuel Adebayor missed everyone and rattled the upright.

Yet just when it seemed Spurs were on the verge of an opener, Chelsea took the lead with a goal on 43 minutes that owed everything to the raw power of Drogba.

A long ball forward from Lampard found the Ivorian, who held off William Gallas and turned before crashing an unstoppable shot past Carlo Cudicini for 1-0.

Chelsea doubled their lead in controversial circumstances from the corner.

Cudicini pulled off another stunning block to keep away David Luiz's near-post header, but the ball fell only as far as Mata.

The No.10's shot flew hard and low into the goal-mouth and hit a tangle of bodies on the goal-line.

Referee Atkinson hesitated before awarding the goal but television replays appeared to show that the ball had not crossed the line.

Tottenham's players protested but Mata and Chelsea celebrated a 2-0 lead.

-AAP

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