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De Gea at fault again as Chelsea beat United in FA Cup semifinal

De Gea at fault again as Chelsea beat United in FA Cup semifinal

Chelsea will meet Arsenal in the FA Cup final after beating Manchester United by a 3-1 scoreline Sunday.

Olivier Giroud bagged a near-post finish at the end of a prolonged first half before David De Gea let Mason Mount’s long-range effort slip through his hands soon after the interval.

A Harry Maguire own goal put the game out of United’s reach in the 74th minute, but there was time for a Bruno Fernandes consolation from the penalty spot.

Wembley Stadium will host the all-London final on Aug. 1.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made five changes to the side that beat Crystal Palace in their last league game, with Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba, and Mason Greenwood on the bench. He picked Daniel James to join a three-pronged attack with Marcus Rashford and Fernandes.

Mount replaced the in-form Christian Pulisic in Chelsea’s starting XI, while Frank Lampard called in second-choice goalkeeper Willy Caballero for FA Cup duty.

The opening half was timid, perhaps due to the attacking talent left on both benches. Reece James provided some brief excitement by swirling long-range drive that stung De Gea’s palms, and Marcos Alonso headed a good chance over the bar.

A worrying head injury for Eric Bailly late in the first half caused a lengthy delay and forced United into a change. Solskjaer brought on Martial, a positive switch intended to address his side’s flaccidity, but it was Chelsea who struck in the 11th minute of added time.

Seemingly borrowing an ambitious tactic from Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder’s notebook, Cesar Azpilicueta was getting forward well from his spot in the back-three and was unsurprisingly involved in Chelsea’s first tally. The Spaniard exchanged passes with Willian before angling a low ball across the box, and Giroud nipped in front of Victor Lindelof to skilfully flick the ball past De Gea.

ANDY RAIN / AFP / Getty

United ended the half with one touch in Chelsea’s box, their rampant firepower from recent weeks nowhere to be seen.

A minute into the second half, De Gea was nowhere to be seen. Brandon Williams gave up possession with a square pass collected by Mount in midfield. De Gea had plenty of time to get behind the subsequent shot from distance, but he somehow let the ball through his fingers.

The camera then focused on De Gea’s deputy Sergio Romero, who started each of the five matches in United’s FA Cup run before the semifinal.

United brought on Pogba and Greenwood in the 55th minute but enjoyed no discernible improvement. Maguire headed wide following a corner kick 10 minutes after the change, but the English international didn’t have to wait much longer to get on the scoresheet.

With Chelsea pushing for a third, De Gea made a morale-boosting save on a James effort. He was breached seconds later, however, when Alonso flashed a cross to the edge of the six-yard box. Antonio Rudiger looked to have scored, but replays showed it was Maguire who prodded home the ball while desperately stretching to try to prevent the German defender from scoring.

ANDY RAIN / AFP / Getty

Working harder than any other player in United’s lineup, Fernandes was rewarded when Callum Hudson-Odoi felled Martial in the area. The playmaker performed a playful hop before sending Caballero the other way with an assured finish from 12 yards.

Chelsea and United both received a boost in their pursuit of Champions League qualification before kickoff when Leicester City lost 3-0 to Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League. But United will need to improve if they want positive results against West Ham United on Wednesday and Leicester on July 28.