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Ruben Loftus-Cheek had himself a day as he entered the match in relief of Mateo Kovacic, who went down with an injury, and scored the opening goal to pace Chelsea to a 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace in the FA Cup semifinal.

It was Loftus-Cheek’s first goal in a Chelsea jersey since May of 2019 in the Europa League semifinals against Eintracht Frankfurt as he was later loaned out to Fulham before making his return to Chelsea this season.

With the win, Chelsea will head to the FA Cup final on May 14 against Liverpool at Wembley, marking their first FA Cup meeting since 2012. Chelsea have now reached the FA Cup final for the third consecutive season and for the fifth time over the past six seasons.

They only have one FA Cup title to their name over that span. This is Thomas Tuchel’s sixth final since taking charge of the Chelsea head coaching job in January of 2021.

Liverpool and Chelsea have met three times already this season, including in the EFL Cup final in February when the Reds outlasted the Blues after 120 scoreless minutes to win 11-10 on penalties. The other two meetings in the Premier League have also ended in a draw.

As for Patrick Vieira and Crystal Palace, this was their best since reaching the final in 2016, as they held strong despite not being able to play Conor Gallagher against his parent club due to loan obligations.

The score was close enough that you’ll wonder what could’ve been if Gallagher was able to feature. Chelsea didn’t allow Palace many chances on the attacking end and neutralized their key players for most of the day.

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