City started very strong and dominated the opening period, Samir Nasri scored the opener with ten minutes of the first half remaining and they could have been two up at the break if it wasn’t for skipper Company putting his volley wide. their lead was soon doubled with Sergio Aguero’s looping header just after the interval.
Demba Ba pulled one back just after the hour mark for Chelsea with another great acrobatic finish, but City withstood late pressure and held on to book a cup final date with Wigan next month.
The main talking point at the start of the match was Roberto Mancini’s decision to start with Costel Pantilimon ahead of Joe Hart – but the Romanian barely had a touch of the ball as City dominated from the first whistle.
Petr Cech on the other hand was needed to keep his side in the match in the opening ten-minutes, saving well from Aguero and then Carlos Tevez.
Just as Chelsea looked to have found a footing in the match, the deadlock was broken by City.
Yaya Toure created the chance as his marauding run could not be stopped, he fed Aguero in the box who in-turn played in Nasri – he looked to play it back to the Argentine – but instead it hit Cesar Azpilicueta and cannoned straight back to the Frenchman to side-foot home from six yards.
City then began the second period as they finished the first, and within two minutes the lead was indeed doubled.
Gareth Barry created the chance with a wonderful ball into the box and Aguero rose superbly to loop his header into the far corner of Cech’s goal.
Unsurprisingly, City were happy to counter on Chelsea, who had no option but to push forward and look for an opening and introduced Fernando Torres on the hour, and within minutes they had a goal back.
A long ball from David Luiz was not dealt with by City, and Ba just held off Kompany before helping the ball into the corner of the net with an acrobatic effort.
Suddenly Chelsea were in the cup tie as the momentum had totally changed, and not long after they should have levelled as Eden Hazard led a counter attack, he looked to play in Juan Mata and the Spaniard got the ball as Matija Nastasic failed to deal with the clearance but Pantilimon was off his line brilliantly to slide in and palm it away.
The Romanian then made a top-drawer save to keep Ba out as Hazard escaped the attentions of Kompany – and suddenly City were on the back foot. Luiz stuck a free-kick just wide of the post and he was then on the receiving end of a two-footed lunge from Aguero, who was hugely fortunate not to see red.
Chelsea continued to press and Torres had a couple of half chances, but they could not find a way though as their grasp on the FA Cup was wrestled away from them.
In all City were the better team on the day and deserved to get through to the final but maybe without a key figure, Sergio Aguero after shoulder charging David Luiz to the ground, lunged into the Chelsea centre back with both feet. It was hard to see how the ref never saw it, and should he have, would have no doubt in red carding the Argentine. The incident will be looked at for sure and its hard to see how he won’t be banned, as the look on his face shows clear intent.