Chelsea's FA Cup run came to an end at the semi-final stage as Manchester City struck the decisive goal late on after 85 minutes of stalemate at Wembley.

For the second time this season, a Chelsea trip to Wembley resulted in a 1-0 loss, but it was a performance of promise for the Blues as, on the balance of play and chances, we edged the Premier League leaders and arguably deserved better.

The Blues carried the larger threat throughout a tight and, at times, tense semi-final. Nicolas Jackson in particular caused Manchester City plenty of problems and was denied several times by goalkeeper Stefan Ortega before and after half-time, while Cole Palmer had a strong penalty shout for handball turned down early in the second half.

However, it was not to be Chelsea's day, as with around five minutes left City struck when Bernardo Silva fired in from close range at the back post, despite Marc Cucurella throwing himself at the ball in a last-ditch attempt to keep it out.

Promising start

It was a fairly even opening to the match, with Chelsea perhaps just about edging it, and that showed when Jackson forced the first save of the game. He had already threatened to break away once when Palmer found him with a well-weighted pass, but he was under pressure and his powerful shot was too close to Stefan Ortega to trouble the keeper.

We were also enjoying some promising opportunities to attack when winning possession high up the pitch, first Palmer attempting a cheeky long-range lob after good pressure from Jackson and then Conor Gallagher charging forward after nicking in to intercept from Kyle Walker.

There was a scare at the back, though, when Phil Foden was played through by Kevin De Bruyne and took the ball around Djordje Petrovic, but the angle was too wide for him to shoot and Cucurella was back covering to head clear from inside the six-yard box.

Jackson’s clever running on and off the ball was continuing to cause Man City problems, with another ending with his cross flashing across the face of goal, but there was no-one there to meet it.

Blues on top but stalemate continues

The match was still finely poised and Cucurella did well again at the other end of the pitch to clear Silva’s effort off the line, although it wouldn’t have counted anyway as the offside flag was already raised.

The best chance yet arrived with half-an-hour played, when Enzo Fernandez released Jackson in behind. However, the striker was forced wide when trying to round the keeper and had to wait for support to arrive, but couldn’t find a team-mate with his pass.

The first half finished with a good spell of pressure from the Blues, but the closest we came to taking the lead in the opening 45 minutes was a wonderful piece of individual skill by Palmer to jink past Rodri in the box and roll a shot towards the far corner, but Ortega got down to it. Just like on Chelsea's last six trips to Wembley, it was goalless at the break.

Chelsea began the second period brightly, with Jackson forcing two saves from Ortega in a matter of seconds. First he was played in by Gallagher, but the keeper got down well. Then when Palmer collected the loose ball to cross Jackson met it with his head at the back post, only for Ortega to spread himself to keep it out again. Next Palmer fired a free-kick inches wide, which then resulted in a strong handball shout for a penalty against Jack Grealish in the wall, but VAR decided not to intervene.

At the other end, Petrovic showed good reactions to make his own save, pushing away Foden's effort as Man City responded. It was a stop that looked even better on second viewing, as Djordje was unsighted by Trevoh Chalobah's attempt to block.

Nail-biting stuff

As we entered the last 30 minutes there was a moment to breathe when Grealish needed lengthy treatment following a 50-50 with Moises Caicedo, but it did little to relieve the tension inside the stadium. Chelsea had certainly created the best of the chances, but the margins remained paper thin. It felt like the first goal could very much go either way, and the longer it remained scoreless the higher the chance that one goal would be decisive.

We continued to threaten the space in behind City's defence, Caicedo and Noni Madueke both worrying the opposition's back line, and then Petrovic was called into action again to stop with his feet when Jeremy Doku drove into the box and fired low at the near post.

Mauricio Pochettino called upon his bench for the first time with around 10 minutes remaining. Mykhailo Mudryk and Axel Disasi were the duo coming on, for Noni Madueke and Malo Gusto, the latter clearly having been struggling with an injury picked up making a big challenge on Doku.

City strike late

However, as we entered the closing stages, it was Manchester City who found the first goal. De Bruyne's low cross was nudged away by Petrovic but only as far as Silva. Cucurella bravely threw himself at the Portuguese midfielder's attempt from the rebound, but it wasn't enough to keep it out of the net.

That meant Chelsea had a little over five minutes plus stoppage time to find an equaliser. That added time amounted to eight minutes in the end, but we weren't able to trouble Ortega's goal before the full-time whistle. A Ben Chilwell break down the left was the closest we came, but he couldn't get the ball fully under control to find Raheem Sterling in the middle, allowing City to get back in time to block his attempted cross at source.

What is next

It is straight back to Premier League action for the Blues, as we travel across London to face Arsenal at 8pm on Tuesday evening.

The teams

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Petrovic; Gusto (Disasi 79), Chalobah, Thiago Silva, Cucurella (Chilwell 88); Caicedo, Enzo (Sterling 88); Madueke (Mudryk 79), Palmer, Gallagher (c); Jackson
Unused subs: Bettinelli, Badiashile, Gilchrist, Chukwuemeka, Deivid Washington
Booked: Caicedo 45, Enzo 86

Man City (4-1-4-1): Ortega; Walker (c), Stones (Dias h-t), Akanji, Ake; Rodri; Foden, De Bruyne, Silva, Grealish (Doku 65); Alvarez (Bobb 88)
Unused subs: Ederson, Gvardiol, Gomez, Lewis, Kovacic, Nunes
Booked: Alvarez 58, Foden 83, De Bruyne 86
Scorer: Silva 84

Referee: Michael Oliver

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