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Three things we learned from Chelsea’s win v. Tottenham

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Chelsea beat Tottenham Hotspur 4-2 in the FA Cup semifinal on Saturday as Willian struck twice in the first half and Eden Hazard jumped off the bench to drill home and then set up Nemanja Matic to score a stunner.

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Both teams went after it but it is Chelsea who will face the winner of Arsenal and Manchester City (they play on Sunday) in the FA Cup final at Wembley on May 27.

Here’s what we learned from a gripping clash at Wembley.


Before the game Antonio Conte‘s decision to put Diego Costa and Eden Hazard on the bench bemused everyone.

At the end of the game it looked like yet another masterclass from the Italian coach.

With the scored locked at 2-2, Conte sent on his two attacking stars and they made a big difference. Hazard put Chelsea 3-2 up with a fine low strike and then set up Matic to make it 4-2.

Costa’s presence was a tougher problem for Spurs’ defense to handle and he would’ve been the last person the likes of Toby Alderweireld, Eric Dier and Jan Vertonghen would have wanted to see come on.

Conte got the biggest of calls spot on and now Hazard and Costa will be fresh for the big league game against Southampton on Tuesday as Chelsea aim to extend their lead atop the Premier League table to seven points.


With Spurs cutting Chelsea’s gap to four points ahead of this FA Cup semifinal, this match was about so much more than reaching the FA Cup final.

Chelsea weren’t on top for vast swathes of this match and indeed there only seemed to be one winner when Dele Alli equalized to make it 2-2. Tottenham were dominating midfield but Cesc Fabregas’ arrival calmed things down for Chelsea and the fact they could bring on Costa, Hazard and Fabrgeas said it all. The strength of their bench made a huge difference.

With Chelsea coming off the back of a damaging defeat at Manchester United, many people were looking for a response from the Blues.

It wasn’t pretty but Conte’s boys delivered a huge show of character as they dug deep and got by a red-hot Tottenham outfit and have given themselves a boost in the run-in as securing the double seems a real possibility.

This could be a massive moment in Chelsea winning the Premier League as Spurs will be left to lick their wounds and wonder what could have been once again at Wembley.


Harry Kane‘s deft header at the near post from Christian Eriksen‘s cross made it 1-1 and gave Spurs hope they could finally get over their Wembley curse. Then Dele Alli’s fine finish from another sublime Eriksen cross made it 2-2 to again give Tottenham hope as they battered Chelsea.

Think again.

Spurs have now played at Wembley five times this season, losing on there occasions, drawing once (but going out of the Europa League to Genk on aggregate) and winning just once. The stadium they’re widely expected to call home next season seems cursed and a decision on whether or not they’ll play all of their home games at Wembley next season is expected to be made in the coming days.

Their Wembly struggles aside, Tottenham have now lost seven consecutive FA Cup semifinals, something no other team in history has ever done.

Pochettino’s men will now focus solely on the Premier League as they look to hunt down Chelsea.

But make no mistake about it, losing at Wembley yet again could have huge ramifications on the decision over their home for next season.

Daly collapses during match, treated for heat illness

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HOUSTON (AP) Houston Dash forward Rachel Daly collapsed during the final minute of a National Women’s Soccer League match against the Seattle Reign as temperatures climbed into the 90s.

The 25-year-old Daly was stretchered off the field and taken to the hospital, where the team said she was being treated for heat illness.

The temperature at BBVA Compass Stadium was 92 degrees at the 3 p.m. kickoff. The Reign won 2-0.

[ MORE: Perisic talking with Man Utd? ]

The NWSL issued a statement that said the league had worked with the Dash before the season to schedule any afternoon games early in the year to help avoid heat issues. The teams took a hydration break late in the match.

“We will immediately review these measures to prevent this situation from occurring in the future,” the statement said.

Reign coach Laura Harvey posted to Twitter: “Proud of the team today. Some of the hottest conditions I’ve seen. Road games are tough but that was crazy.”

MLS roundup: Outrageous dive, posts doom ‘Caps; Ramirez stays red hot

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Six matches are in the books on a busy Saturday in Major League Soccer, and five of them finished 1-0.

How they got there? Much different stories. With the Cali Clasico still to play, let’s dig into the five that followed Seattle 1-0 Portland.

[ MORE: Perisic to Man Utd? ]

Vancouver Whitecaps 0-1 DC United

It’s especially difficult to win on the road in Major League Soccer, unless the hosts fritter away four good chances off the woodwork — including a Cristian Techera PK — and give away a spot kick of their own. Lamar Neagle converted the 61st offering after a sinister dive from Jose Guillermo Ortiz. He was taken off soon after, and is probably going to miss sometime when the DisCo is done with him. Outrageous.

New York Red Bulls 2-1 New England Revolution

Not one, not two, nor three, but four New England players saw a low cross slide by them for Daniel Royer to finish as New York came from behind to take all three points at Red Bull Arena. Cody Cropper committed a gaffe that allowed Bradley Wright-Phillips to equalize after a Lee Nguyen PK had put the Revs ahead early.

Colorado Rapids 1-0 Sporting KC

Homegrown defender and University of Denver product Kortne Ford has his first MLS goal, as the Rapids surprised the Western Conference leaders on Saturday. SKC outshot Colorado by nearly 20 attempts (Shoulder shrug emoji).

Minnesota United 1-0 Orlando City

There were questions as to whether NASL superstar Christian Ramirez could translate his game to Major League Soccer.

Yes. The answer is yes.

Ramirez has eight goals in 13 MLS matches, and should be hearing his name from a certain Bruce Arena around Gold Cup time. Those USMNT dreams of last season should come true.

Bobby Shuttleworth made six saves for his third shutout of the season. All have come at home.

Real Salt Lake 1-0 Philadelphia Union

Joao Plata keeps shooting, and the tiny Ecuadorian menace keeps scoring, too. His 36th minute goal was enough for the hosts at Rio Tinto.

Raiola: Zlatan to “100 percent” stay in Europe for two seasons

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be 35 and coming off major knee surgery, but that isn’t stopping suitors from lining up across Europe.

[ MORE: Perisic to Man Utd? ]

Ibrahimovic’s agent, Mino Raiola, says that MLS is not an option for the Swede over the next two seasons. From Sky Sports:

“Many clubs have asked for Zlatan. He can play two more years and will stay in Europe, 100 per cent.”

It would make sense for Ibrahimovic to stay around Manchester United, where he is admired by Jose Mourinho and coming off a season that showed he’s still capable of contributing at a high level.

But he remains beloved in Italy, and would be effective for most clubs in the Top 5 leagues should he return at even 75 percent of the Zlatan we’ve seen regularly.

Report: Manchester United, Inter Milan keen on Perisic deal

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Manchester United wants Ivan Perisic, and both the player and his current club are all about it.

Perisic, 28, is ready to leave Inter Milan, and the Serie A mainstays are happy to accept $46 million for his services according to Sky Sports.

[ MORE: No China for Costa ]

Primarily a left winger, Perisic moved to Inter from Wolfsburg at the start of the 2015-16 season. He scored 10 goals and added nine assists in Serie A play this season, and has kept up his production pace since moving from the Bundesliga to Italy.

United needs stars and depth for its Champions League campaign, and Perisic would buttress an attack with Marcus Rashford, Henrikh Mkhitaryan amongst others. He was a difference maker for Croatia at EURO 2016, and can do the same at Old Trafford.