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Rediff.com  » Sports » Manchester City hold off Chelsea to reach FA Cup final

Manchester City hold off Chelsea to reach FA Cup final

April 14, 2013 22:56 IST

Goals from Samir Nasri and Sergio Aguero sent ManchesterCity into an FA Cup final against Wigan Athletic after they beat holders Chelsea 2-1 at Wembley on Sunday.

The 2011 winners will return on May 11 after they held off a strong fightback from a Chelsea side playing their sixth game in 16 days.

Manchester City's Sergio Aguero (right) celebrates scoring against Chelsea with teammate Samir Nasri during their FA Cup semi-final soccer match at Wembley Stadium in London on SundayFrenchman Nasri gave City, who also beat Chelsea to win the season-opening Community Shield, a lead they more than deserved when he fired home after 35 minutes and Argentine Aguero headed a second two minutes into the second half.

Demba Ba's acrobatic volley on 65 minutes inspired a Chelsea revival but City held their nerve.

Premier League strugglers Wigan overcame Championship (second division) Millwall 2-0 at Wembley on Saturday in a match marred by fighting among the London club's supporters.

City set the tone for a dominant opening half when Petr Cech clawed away Aguero's early effort from close range and Chelsea, with only two days full rest after their Europa League trip to Moscow, soaked up almost continual pressure.

Vincent Kompany's goalline header to stop Eden Hazard from scoring did get City off the hook and they made the most of the letoff and went ahead when Chelsea, not for the first time, allowed Yaya Toure to run at them.

The Ivorian, the dominant figure in midfield for City, played a precise pass to Aguero's feet and his layoff bobbled off Cesar Azpilicueta and fell for Nasri to lash home.

Kompany should have added a second from a lightning attack but City rammed home their supremacy two minutes after the break when Aguero met Gareth Barry's cross with a looping header that went in off the post.

Chelsea, FA Cup winners in four of the last six seasons, got a lifeline when Ba turned to fire home after substitute Fernando Torres, seconds after coming on, had unsettled City's backline enough to force a messy clearance.

It was the first goal City have conceded in the competition and a only smart block from keeper Costel Pantilimon denied Senegal forward Ba an equaliser.

Chelsea pressed strongly in the closing stages but now only have the Europa League for a chance of silverware this season.

Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

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