Controversial Mata goal helps Blues thrash Tottenham

Tottenham 1 Chelsea 5

Juan Mata’s controversial goal helped Chelsea secure what turned into a resounding semi-final victory at Wembley.

The Blues, who will face Liverpool in next month’s FA Cup final, were leading through Didier Drogba’s cracking strike from the edge of the penalty area when their lead was doubled courtesy of a gaffe by referee Martin Atkinson.

The official decided that Mata’s close-range shot went over the line when it clearly had not – a moment Tottenham will no doubt point to despite Chelsea scoring three more to seal a great victory.

Lampard scored Chelsea's fourth.

Gareth Bale pulled one back for Spurs by tapping in the loose ball after Petr Cech had brought down Emmanuel Adebayor.

But Chelsea then grabbed three late goals, with Ramires finishing well after collecting Mata’s pass, Frank Lampard hitting the net with a stunning 30-yard free-kick, and substitute Florent Malouda slotting home after another assist by the outstanding Mata.

It was an action-packed finish to what had been a cagey affair until a spell late in the first half in which Spurs twice almost went ahead and Drogba opened the scoring three minutes before the interval.

John Terry launched the ball forward and Drogba held off William Gallas before sending a brilliant shot high into the net.

Drogba had earlier failed to make the most of a chance in a similar position.

He had more time than he perhaps realised after Gallas went down as the pair chased David Luiz’s long ball, and the Ivorian sliced his effort well wide.

Chelsea also created an opening when Salomon Kalou robbed Kyle Walker and galloped down the left but then over-hit his pass to Mata, allowing keeper Carlo Cudicini to thwart the Spaniard.

Keeper Cech was arguably fortunate to stay on the pitch.

But it was Tottenham who had come closest to scoring prior to Drogba’s belter.

Rafael van der Vaart’s header was cleared off the line by Terry, before Adebayor was unable to connect with Van der Vaart’s cross and the ball came back off the post.

Buoyed by Drogba’s goal, Chelsea made a barnstorming start to the second half and Cudicini dived to his left to tip away Mata’s shot.

From the resulting corner by Lampard, ex-Chelsea man Cudicini produced another great stop, this time keeping out Luiz’s header.

In the scramble which followed, Cudicini ended up in a heap on the goal-line along with Terry and Spurs defenders Ledley King and Benoit Assou-Ekotto.

Mata, from around five yards out, fired in their direction with the ball appearing to hit the boot of Terry, and Atkinson somehow concluded that it had crossed the line.

Coming just three minutes after the break, the goal was a body blow to Spurs but they hit back on 55 minutes.

Scott Parker threaded through a great pass and after the onrushing Cech tripped Adebayor, Atkinson played the advantage, allowing Bale to sidefoot into an empty net and perhaps sparing Chelsea’s keeper a red card.

Luiz was not so fortunate. The Brazil international was taken off after being hurt while trying to stop Adebayor – a worry for Chelsea ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Barcelona.

Another Brazilian, the irrepressible Ramires, restored his team’s two-goal cushion before Lampard’s 81st-minute beauty.

Malouda’s injury-time fifth rubbed salt into the wounds of Spurs, who were well beaten but will argue that Atkinson’s diabolical error was a turning point.

Click here for the Chelsea v Tottenham quiz

See also:
Chelsea v Tottenham: Player ratings
Controversial Mata goal helps Blues thrash Tottenham
Di Matteo confrms Luiz is a doubt for Barcelona clash

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