Saturday 13 April 2013
It will be an all-Barclays Premier League final in the FA Cup on May 11 after Manchester City booked their second spot there in three years, beating the holders Chelsea 2-1 at Wembley.
City dominated most of the match, going 2-0 up through goals by Samir Nasri in the first half and a Sergio Aguero header shortly after half-time. Roberto Mancini’s team were forced to hang on in the end after Demba Ba halved the deficit with an acrobatic finish in the 66th minute.
They will play Wigan Athletic, who reached their first FA Cup final with a 2-0 victory over Millwall on Saturday, and are likely to qualify for the UEFA Europa League whatever the outcome in May, with City almost guaranteed a top-four spot in the Barclays Premier League.
Mancini was pleased with the result. "We know we are a good team," he said. "We want to win the FA Cup final and we have a chance to finish second and show we don't deserve to be 15 points behind. This is our target."
The Italian also hinted that, for the final, Costel Pantilimon would remain in the City goal, as he has for the whole FA Cup run, conceding just one goal.
"He is a good 'keeper and he deserves this situation because he has been here for two years and has done very well behind Joe Hart," Mancini said. "It is a good situation for Joe, too."
Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez was disappointed with his side's first-half performance but will now focus on getting a top four place in the Barclays Premier League.
"It is clear we played against a very good team and their goal early in the second half was very disappointing because we wanted to reacted," he said.
"When Torres came on to the pitch we scored a goal quickly and the team had more determination and confidence and played much better when we had the ball, and we were on top of Man City until the end.
"Now we have to concentrate on the league and for us Fulham on Wednesday will be a massive game."