Manchester City beat Chelsea with late Bernardo Silva goal to make FA Cup final; Arsenal top Premier League | Football News - Hindustan Times
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Manchester City beat Chelsea with late Bernardo Silva goal to make FA Cup final; Arsenal top Premier League

AP |
Apr 21, 2024 07:08 AM IST

Bernardo Silva’s late goal secured a 1-0 win against Chelsea in their semifinal, just days after City’s Champions League defense was ended by Real Madrid.

Manchester City’s European rule is over — its domestic dominance is not. Even on a day when Arsenal rose to the summit of the English Premier League with a 2-0 win against Wolves, City kept its pursuit of back-to-back domestic doubles alive by booking its place in the FA Cup final.

Manchester City's Portuguese midfielder #20 Bernardo Silva (3L) celebrates with teammates after scoring the opening goal of the English FA Cup semi-final football match between Manchester City and Chelsea(AFP)
Manchester City's Portuguese midfielder #20 Bernardo Silva (3L) celebrates with teammates after scoring the opening goal of the English FA Cup semi-final football match between Manchester City and Chelsea(AFP)

Bernardo Silva’s late goal secured a 1-0 win against Chelsea in their semifinal on Saturday, just days after City’s Champions League defense was ended by Real Madrid.

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Pep Guardiola’s team had to dig deep at Wembley, with Chelsea creating the best of the chances before Bernardo struck an 84th-minute winner.

A sweet moment for the Portuguese playmaker was even more special given he missed a penalty in the shootout loss to Madrid on Wednesday.

“(I’m) very happy after a very frustrating week for all of us, for me personally,” Bernardo said. “The good thing is in football at Man City, you play every three days. Every three days you have the chance to put things right and now we have a chance to win another trophy.”

City hoped to become the first team to win back-to-back trebles after winning the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup last season. Without the injured Erling Haaland, it had to show character to bounce back after the disappointment of defeat to Madrid.

Chelsea had chances to take the lead, but Nicolas Jackson wasted three golden opportunities before Bernardo’s decisive moment — converting Kevin De Bruyne’s cross from the left via a deflection from Marc Cucurella.

“We conceded in a moment you should not concede,” Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino said.

“We were not capable of being clinical in front of goal, we had many chances but we did not score. In the game we were a little bit better and deserved more, but it is not about deserving it, it is about being clinical and we were not.”

City is aiming to win the Cup for an eighth time, while Guardiola can extend his trophy haul to 16 since joining the club if his team completes the double.

He may look back on this game as being pivotal if City goes on to win the league and Cup, given the physical and mental strain the week has had on his players after being taken to extra time and penalties by Madrid.

Defeat to Chelsea would have raised questions over City’s resolve in the final weeks of a campaign when Arsenal and Liverpool are threatening to take the title race all the way.

While he celebrated joyously, fist pumping to the crowd and embracing each of his players, he voiced his anger over the decision to make his team play on Saturday. He said the semifinal should have been moved back 24 hours due to City’s Champions League commitments.

“I don’t understand how we survived today. It’s unacceptable to play today. Today is one of the greatest things I have seen from my players,” Guardiola said. “I just want to protect my players. It’s unacceptable, it’s common sense. I’m not asking for something special or privilege.”

Manchester United meets Coventry in the other semifinal on Sunday. The final is on May 25.

ARSENAL LEAD

Arsenal also had to show its resolve after a punishing week of its own.

Defeat to Aston Villa last weekend left Mikel Arteta’s team trailing City by two points at the top of the standings and that was followed by Champions League elimination at the hands of Bayern Munich.

After last season’s late title collapse, it looked like history was repeating itself.

But a 2-0 win at Wolves has gone some way to answering doubts about Arsenal’s credentials. Leandro Trossard and Martin Odegaard scored late in each half.

“It was a tough week for us. A few tough results and (it was) hard emotionally but we had to keep going,” Odegaard said.

Arsenal took over first place, a point clear of City, which has a game in hand.

Third-placed Liverpool can go level on points with Arsenal if it beats Fulham at Craven Cottage on Sunday.

RELEGATION BATTLE

Burnley’s hopes of survival were boosted by routing last-placed Sheffield United 4-1.

Vincent Kompany's team is putting together a late-season bid to avoid the drop with only one loss in seven in the league. Burnley is within three points of safety.

The win at Bramall Lane pushed Sheffield United closer to relegation, 10 points from safety with five games to go.

A good day for Burnley was made even better as relegation rival Luton was hammered at home by Brentford 5-1.

Luton, in 18th, had the chance to move out of the bottom three with a win, but is just two points ahead of Burnley in 19th.

Yoane Wissa struck twice for Brentford, which moved 10 points clear of the drop zone.

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