Chelsea ends Man City’s quadruple bid, reaches FA Cup final

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Manchester City’s Rodrigo, center, jumps for the ball with Chelsea’s Mason Mount, left, and Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta during the English FA Cup semifinal soccer match between Chelsea and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium in London, England, Saturday, April 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Ian Walton, Pool)

LONDON (AP) — Manchester City’s quadruple dream has been extinguished by Chelsea. Even more concerning could be the injury to Kevin De Bruyne for the ongoing pursuit of a treble.

Chelsea will be back at Wembley Stadium next month for the FA Cup final after a 1-0 victory over City was clinched by Hakim Ziyech on Saturday.

Pep Guardiola will return even sooner next Sunday with City for the League Cup final but with doubts over whether De Bruyne will be fit to face Tottenham.

“It doesn’t look quite good,” Guardiola said. “But we will see tomorrow.”

The influential Belgian playmaker hobbled off with an apparent ankle injury just as City is entering a crunch period of the season.

A 11-point Premier League lead makes collecting that trophy a near-certainty but there is also a first Champions League semifinal with City for Guardiola against Paris Saint-Germain in what remains the priority title for the club.

“We started the game a little bit slow and struggled a bit in the first half,” City midfielder Fernandinho said.

While Guardiola has been in charge almost five years at City, Thomas Tuchel has only been at Chelsea three months.

After picking up the pieces following the firing of Frank Lampard, the German now has a shot at a trophy in the FA Cup final against Leicester or Southampton next month. And like City, Chelsea remains in Champions League contention with Real Madrid awaiting in the last four.

“All the ways are still open, everybody is excited by it,” Ziyech said. “And we cannot wait to play these games.”

The performance against City will offer Tuchel encouragement of silverware. While Timo Werner struggles for goals, assists are less of a problem. It was his 12th of his first season at Chelsea, setting up Ziyech for the close-range finish in the 55th minute in an unguarded net after American goalkeeper Zack Steffen was left stranded.

“It was a good delivery and I could just put it in easily,” Ziyech said. “I still have a lot to work on, but I think I am on a good way.”

There were no Chelsea fans to witness the goal in person. But they should be allowed back into Wembley for the May 15 final as coronavirus restrictions are eased.

How to get safely back into venues will be assessed at Wembley on Sunday when up to 4,000 locals from the north London district are allowed in to see Leicester take on Southampton if they can produce a negative coronavirus test result.

NEWCASTLE WINS

Newcastle moved nine points clear of the relegation zone with a 3-2 victory over West Ham.

Newcastle led through Issa Diop’s own-goal and Craig Dawson was sent off for receiving a second booking in the buildup. Joelinton’s tap-in extended Newcastle’s lead before halftime but it was wiped out by Diop’s header in the 73rd and Jesse Lingard’s penalty after Ciaran Clark handled.

Newcastle recovered its lead through substitute Joe Willock’s powerful header.

“I’m not going to take anything for granted,” Newcastle manager Steve Bruce said. “I’ve always said it’s the accumulation of points, and 35, in my opinion, is not enough, so you won’t get me jumping and hollering at the moment. We’ve still got six games to play.”

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Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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