Matic wonder-goal sends Chelsea into FA Cup final

Chelsea shut down Tottenham’s fightback in a potent five-minute spell in the second half inspired by Hazard, who had been unexpectedly relegated to the bench.

Eden Hazard celebrates with Diego Costa after scoring his sides third goal during The FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur.   -  Getty Images

Eden Hazard came off the bench to help Chelsea into the FA Cup final with a 4-2 victory over Tottenham on Saturday as the English Premier League leaders overwhelmed their title rivals to stay on course for a double.

Chelsea shut down Tottenham’s fightback in a potent five-minute spell in the second half inspired by Hazard, who had been unexpectedly relegated to the bench.

Chelsea condemned Tottenham to a seventh successive FA Cup semifinal loss, and also has a four-point lead over its London rival in the league title race.

Twice Willian put Chelsea in front from a free kick in the fifth minute and from a penalty two minutes before hal-ftime but Tottenham came back each time through Harry Kane’s flicked header and Dele Alli’s strike.

Despite Tottenham posing the greater threat after Alli latched onto Christian Eriksen’s exquisite long pass in the 52nd minute, the north London club had nothing to show for its dominance. And a double substitution by Antonio Conte after an hour swung the semifinal back in Chelsea’s favor with Hazard arriving on the pitch with top-scorer Diego Costa.

A third Chelsea substitute, Cesc Fabregas, set up Hazard’s goal within a minute of being brought on. The midfielder’s corner was inadvertently flicked on by Tottenham defender Kyle Walker. Then Chelsea’s return trip to Wembley for the final next month was secured by Matic in spectacular fashion, with Conte’s side asserting its strength over Tottenham.

Arsenal faces Manchester City in the second semifinal on Sunday.

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