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Coach Gianluca Vialli admitted Chelsea rode their luck to beat Newcastle United 2-1 in a
pulsating FA Cup semifinal at Wembley on Sunday. "They played better than us for long periods of the game," said Vialli, "and the only difference at the end was that we took our chances and they did not. "Newcastle made it very hard for us and we have to be
thankful that Gustavo Poyet scored two great goals and that Ed de Goey was so outstanding in goal."
Chelsea face Aston Villa on May 20 - the last Cup final at Wembley before the stadium is demolished later this year for
Newcastle captain Alan Shearer, after losing the last two Cup finals, was devastated by Sunday's defeat and said the sooner the Twin Towers came down the better.
"I cannot believe we played as well as that and lost. We have been sitting there absolutely stunned in the dressing room.
"I thought we were the better side, but we have had no luck here for years and as far as Newcastle United are concerned, the sooner they knock this place down the better," Shearer said.
"I thought we were the better side, but you cannot give Poyet chances like that.
"He is one of the best attacking midfielders in the world
and if you give him half a chance, he'll bury you. I have to
admit it, we feel hard done by today."
Vialli gambled on making six changes to the team that played
so superbly to beat Barcelona 3-1 in the first leg of the
Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday.
He even omitted from the starting line- up Wednesday's
goalscorers Tore Andre Flo and Gianfranco Zola.
Instead he paired George Weah and Chris Sutton in attack,
and although they were both replaced later by Flo and Zola,
Vialli's gamble paid off and Chelsea reached their third FA Cup
final in seven seasons.
Newcastle knew they had dominated the match for long periods
and their coach Bobby Robson was stunned by the result.
"We did not deserve to lose today, we did not deserve the
result. I can't criticise my players in any shape or form
because they gave their all.
"They caught us twice on the break and it was very cruel
result for us.
"Although we went in 1-0 down at halftime, I told them if we
scored an equaliser we would go on and win the game -- or at
least take it to extra time wich I felt we would enjoy much
more than they would.
"But it was not to be. The word "if" is a very big one. The
referee stopped play when Di Matteo was down, but did not stop
play when we had Kieiron Dyer down and they went on and scored
from that.
"If he had stopped the play they might not have scored.
Dennis Wise took a rolling free kick which led to their first
goal -- if he had blown up and ordered him to take it properly,
they might not have scored.
"But sometimes it just does not go for you even if you
deserve to win, and today was one of those days."
Chelsea skipper Dennis Wise admitted his team did not play
as well as Newcastle. "We are a little disappointed with the way
we played, but semifinals are rarely classics, they are all
about getting a result and that's what we did today."
Villa, who reached the final with a penalty shoot-out
victory over Bolton Wanderers last weekend, will be appearing in
their first final since 1957. Chelsea have won twice, in 1970
and 1997.

6,790 Posts
Hey c'mon Driver, we rested like half our team. But I admit, Newcastle shouldn't dominate us like that anyway. Oh well, we're in the final, they're not.

You're damn right Kat, we're gonna kick Villa's ass on the 20th of May.
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