Hazard sends Chelsea into FA Cup final with victory vs Spurs

Saturday April 22nd, 2017

LONDON (AP) Eden Hazard came off the bench to help Chelsea into the FA Cup final with a 4-2 victory over Tottenham on Saturday as the English Premier League leaders overwhelmed their title rivals to stay on course for a double.

Chelsea shut down Tottenham's fightback in a potent five-minute spell in the second half inspired by Hazard, who had been unexpectedly relegated to the bench.

Hazard shot the ball through a crowded penalty area into the net in the 75th minute and teed up Nemanja Matic for a powerful strike off the inside of the crossbar to secure a final against Arsenal or Manchester City.

Chelsea condemned Tottenham to a seventh successive FA Cup semifinal loss, and also has a four-point lead over its London rival in the league title race.

Twice Willian put Chelsea in front - from a free kick in the fifth minute and from a penalty two minutes before halftime - but Tottenham came back each time through Harry Kane's flicked header and Dele Alli's strike.

Despite Tottenham posing the greater threat after Alli latched onto Christian Eriksen's exquisite long pass in the 52nd minute, the north London club had nothing to show for its dominance. And a double substitution by Antonio Conte after an hour swung the semifinal back in Chelsea's favor with Hazard arriving on the pitch with top-scorer Diego Costa.

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A third Chelsea substitute, Cesc Fabregas, set up Hazard's goal within a minute of being brought on. The midfielder's corner was inadvertently flicked on by Tottenham defender Kyle Walker. Then Chelsea's return trip to Wembley for the final next month was secured by Matic in spectacular fashion, with Conte's side asserting its strength over Tottenham.

Arsenal faces Manchester City in the second semifinal on Sunday. There were four Premier League games:

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BOURNEMOUTH 4, MIDDLESBROUGH 0

Bournemouth nudged closer to securing a third season in the Premier League by moving seven points from danger. But Middlesbrough is plummeting toward the League Championship, sitting nine points from safety.

The visitors imploded in an opening 20 minutes, conceding goals from Joshua King and Benik Afobe, and seeing Gaston Ramirez receive two yellow cards. Marc Pugh and Charlie Daniels added further goals in the second half.

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HULL 2, WATFORD 0

Despite striker Oumar Niasse being sent off in the 25th minute, Hull produced a victory to bolster the survival bid. Second-half goals from Lazar Markovic and Sam Clucas kept the north-east side two points above the relegation zone.

SWANSEA 2, STOKE 0

Fernando Llorente's header and Tom Carroll's deflected strike ended Swansea's six-game winless run. The south Wales side remained in the drop zone due to Hull's win.

WEST HAM 0, EVERTON 0

A drab game secured a point that lifted Everton into sixth place above Arsenal, which has three games in hand. West Ham moved seven points clear of the relegation zone with four games remaining.

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