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Fulham 0 Chelsea 1 - Match Report

last updated Monday 15th April 2002, 9:30 PM
sky by Chris Macrae
Fulham (0) 0 Chelsea (1) 1 Fulham lost their first F.A. Cup semi final for 27 years to a John Terry deflected first-half strike. It proved enough to take Chelsea through to the FA Cup final and a meeting with Arsenal on May 4th.

The defender, sporting a head bandage from the off, poked the ball under Edwin van der Sar from an acute angle after a scramble and the ball went in off Loius Saha's boot.

     
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It was a fittingly scrappy outcome to a contest that had it's moments, but rarely hit the heights that these two sides are capable of, littered as it was with misplaced passes and erratic finishing.

Tension, understandably, was never far from the surface, and the final moments were played out in an ugly atmosphere as scuffles threatened to break out after every tackle, a spat between Emmanuel Petit and Sean Davis having provided the initial spark.

Chelsea's hopes took a blow after just three minutes when Graeme Le Saux was forced off with a recurrence of his calf injury. Albert Ferrer deputised.

The first chance of the game fell to the Chelsea matchwinner, as Andy Melville half-cleared a corner and Terry connected with a sweet volley from the left angle of the box which van der Sar brilliantly turned round the post.

Fulham were playing like a side who have seen their league form dip alarmingly in recent weeks - bereft of attacking ideas and woefully short on confidence - and it was past the half hour before Carlo Cudicini was seriously tested.

Midfielder Sylvain Legwinski surged through the middle, played a neat one-two with Steve Marlet, and and only a fine one-handed stop from Cudicini prevented the Cottagers from going in front.

Mario Stanic then embarked on a fine run which took him past Andy Melville and John Collins, but he was denied by van der Sar's legs. From the ensuing corner, the ball ricocheted off Mario Melchiot and Terry pounced.

Match Stats Fulham Chelsea
Goal attempts 8 10
On Target 5 4
Hit woodwork 0 1
Fouls 17 10
Offsides 2 1
Corners 5 8
Yellows 2 2
Reds 0 0
source: www.sports.com
Eidur Gudjohnsen, like his strike partner Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, looked out-of-sorts, but he did set up Petit to send a 20-yarder spinning wide, before he curled a cross-shot - brilliantly or fortunately? - over van der Sar, but against the face of the far post.

This let off stunned Jean Tigana's men into a response, but despite plenty of possession they seemed reluctant to commit numbers forward, and when they did, they found Terry and Marcel Desailly in commanding form.

Gudjohnsen, in keeping with the bulk of the contest, spurned two great chances to kill off the tie as the clock wound down; first blazing wildly over the top, then miskicking horribly in front of goal to the consternation of Jesper Gronkjaer, the supplier on each occasion.

Fulham never looked like punishing the Icelander for his profligacy and Cudicini's only real scare in three minutes of added time came from a mix-up with Gronkjaer.

The neutrals will be fervently hoping that the London derby in Cardiff on May 4 is more invigorating than this West Midlands affair ever threatened to be; but that will be of little concern to the Blue half of west London, who are in their third FA Cup final in five years.

Fulham:
Van der Sar, Finnan, Melville, Goma, Brevett, Malbranque, Davis, Legwinski (Hayles 87), Collins (Boa Morte 65), Saha, Marlet.

Subs Not Used: Taylor, Knight, Ouaddou.

Booked: Finnan(70, F), Boa Morte(90, F).

Chelsea:
Cudicini, Melchiot, Terry, Desailly, Le Saux (Ferrer 4), Stanic (Zenden 76), Lampard, Petit, Gronkjaer, Gudjohnsen, Hasselbaink (Jokanovic 85).

Subs Not Used: de Goey, Zola.

Booked: Ferrer, Gronkjaer.

Goals: Terry 42.

Att: 36,147 Ref: G Poll (Tring).
Source sky by Chris Macrae
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