Chelsea in FA Cup final
WEMBLEY, England (AP):
Didier Drogba, Florent Malouda and Frank Lam-pard scored second-half goals to fire defending champions Chelsea into the FA Cup final in a 3-0 victory over Aston Villa yesterday.
Drogba turned home a ball from John Terry in the 68th minute at Wembley and Malouda side-footed home a right-wing cross from Michael Ballack in the 89th. Lampard stroked home the third in injury time after a Chelsea breakaway.
In the May 15 final, Chelsea will face the winners of today's semi-final between Tottenham and Portsmouth.
The final scoreline was hard on Villa, who controlled much of the game but caved in during the final stages.
On course for double
Although Chelsea beat Villa 7-1 in a Premier League meeting two weeks ago, Carlo Ancelotti's team failed to recapture that form. Currently leading the Premier League, however, Chelsea are still on course to complete the league and cup double.
A minute after James Milner's low shot from just outside the area flashed past the Chelsea post, Villa should have had a penalty in the 16th.
John Obi Mikel challenged Gabriel Agbonlahor who went down as he spun towards goal but referee Howard Webb waved away Villa's penalty appeals to leave manager Martin O'Neill raging at the officials.
The notorious Wembley pitch, which has been relaid several times since the stadium was rebuilt, caused frequent problems with players slipping and forced to change their boots.
Villa defender Stephen Warnock blocked a 12-metre shot from Drogba and Joe Cole forced a near-post save from Brad Friedel as Chelsea threatened. But it was a poor quality game full of misplaced passes as Chelsea struggled to break down a well-organised Villa defence.
Meanwhile in the Premier League yesterday financially troubled Portsmouth were relegated on the eve of their FA Cup semi-final after West Ham beat Sunderland 1-0.
Portsmouth's fate was effectively sealed last month when, already bottom of the standings, the Premier League docked the 2008 FA Cup winners nine points for seeking bankruptcy protection - a result of overspending on player transfers and salaries.
Striker Ilan scored in the 51st minute to clinch for West Ham the win that left Portsmouth 17 points from safety with 15 possible to win.
"The result we got last week (a 2-2 draw at Everton) gave everybody a big boost," West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola said. "This is much better but it is still too early to celebrate. We are not there yet."
In Saturday's only other Premier League match, Burnley moved past Hull in the relegation zone by coming from behind to win 4-1 against their opponents. Both teams remain on 27 points - four behind Wigan and West Ham.
Two penalties scored
Kevin Kilbane put Hull ahead in the third minute, but Martin Paterson equalised in the 35th before Graham Alexander scored two penalties and Wade Elliott curled in a fourth goal in stoppage time.
Burnley's first away win of its first campaign back in the top flight since 1976 gives manager Brian Laws belief the team can survive with four matches to go.
"We'll certainly wake a few people up with that result, that's for sure," Laws said. "The most satisfying thing for me is that the players have proven they can win away from home. We've got to build on that."
One of the teams taking Portsmouth's place in the top flight after seven seasons will be West Bromwich Albion, which was promoted on Saturday after beating Doncaster 3-2.
West Brom, like League Championship leader Newcastle, are returning to the Premier League at their first attempt.