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Tottenham Hotspur Vs. Chelsea, 2012 FA Cup: Blues Score Four Or Five In Win

Too good.
Too good.

Tottenham Hotspur were the victim of some bad bounces of the ball and a bad refereeing decision, but they also failed to convert chances when they were available, while Chelsea managed to make the most of theirs. This combination of factors led the scoreboard to read 5-1 to Chelsea at the end of what was, for the most part, a very closely contested FA Cup semifinal between Chelsea and Spurs.

The opening minutes were sloppy and disjointed, with Chelsea having the better of the play in the early going. Their best early chance came in the 27th minute, when Kyle Walker gave the ball away to Solomon Kalou, who had all the space in the world down the right flank. He played a great ball into Juan Mata, but his first touch let him down and Carlo Cudicini smothered the ball.

Tottenham started to play much better football around the half-hour mark and started to look like the much better team at that point. They created a brilliant chance in the 36th minute through Rafael Van der Vaart, who put a shot on target after a great setup by Aaron Lennon, but John Terry blocked the ball off the line. Four minutes later, a cross by Van der Vaart missed intended target Emmanuel Adebayor and everyone else, then smacked off the post before it was cleared.

It appeared that the match would head into halftime tied 0-0 with Tottenham carrying momentum into the break before Didier Drogba struck with an absolutely spectacular goal in the 43rd minute. He created the goal all by himself, bringing a ball off his chest, then turning William Gallas before blasting a left-footed shot into the roof of the net from 12 yards to give Chelsea an advantage heading into the break.

Shortly after the break, Chelsea were gifted a second goal. Juan Mata was credited with a goal in the 49th minute after a corner kick that he directed towards the goal. The ball was judged to have crossed the goal line by the officials, but on the replay it was obvious that it never came close to doing so.

Impressively, Tottenham Hotspur were able to answer. In the 56th minute, Scott Parker played Adebayor through on goal, and he was taken out in the box by Petr Cech. Had Gareth Bale not been in the vicinity, a penalty would have been given and Cech would have been lucky to escape a red card. Instead, Martin Atkinson played advantage and the ball fell to Bale, who finished to make it 2-1. Cech was not disciplined because his only red-cardable offense was the denial of a goal scoring opportunity. Per FIFA rules, because the referee played advantage and a goal was scored, Cech could not be sent off.

Had the game ended 2-1 to Chelsea, Tottenham would have had a right to feel aggrieved and like the game was very negatively affected by the officials, but Chelsea played too well in the final 15 minutes for Tottenham to be able to heap any blame for the loss on Atkinson and his crew. Spurs defended very poorly on the clinching third goal, scored in the 77th minute by Ramires, who got on the end of a great chipped pass by Juan Mata and finished well.

The fourth goal was an absolute stunner. On a free kick from 25 yards out in the 81st minute, Frank Lampard hit the dead ball strike of his life. It swerved in a way that made it impossible for Cudicini to track and went into the back of the net at the top far corner, meaning he wouldn't have had much of a chance even if he saw it all the way. Florent Malouda would add a fifth in stoppage time, finishing off another great assist by Mata.

Atkinson and his crew made a terrible mistake to allow Chelsea's second goal, and if Tottenham had lost 2-1, there would have been very good reason to complain and proclaim that the officials cost Tottenham a chance to win. Instead, Spurs fell apart in the final stages of the game and Chelsea leave deserved winners, even if only four of their five goals were deserved.