Olivier Giroud’s incredible solo goal helped Chelsea beat Southampton 2-0 and set up a FA Cup final clash with rivals Manchester United. Giroud, who started at Wembley ahead of club-record signing Alvaro Morata, fired the Blues ahead just seconds after the break with a superb piece of skill.
Morata replaced the Frenchman with ten minutes remaining and put the game to bed with a goal of his own. Chelsea will face Jose Mourinho’s United in the final on May 19, after the Red Devils’ 2-1 victory over Tottenham on Saturday.
Antonio Conte’s side dominated from the outset and Eden Hazard had the first chance of the match, the Belgian finding space on the edge of the box but firing over.
Hazard led a quick counterattack moments later and found Willian who clipped the top of the crossbar with a shot that had Saints goalkeeper Alex McCarthy beaten.
Giroud has endured a frustrating start to his career at Chelsea but scored a brace against Southampton last weekend and appeared in confident mood, attempting an audacious left-footed volley which flew just wide.
While Chelsea’s dominance did not produce a goal in the first-half, they did not have long to wait in the second as Giroud made his mark on this FA Cup semi-final tie. With the ball at his feet – but three Southampton defenders in his path – Giroud manoeuvred the ball past his opponents and brought McCarthy to his knees before firing into an empty net.
Mark Hughes’ struggling Southampton side had their best chance of the match five minutes later – Shane Long was bearing down on goal but tried to take the ball around Willy Caballero when a shot was the wiser decision.
Substitute Nathan Redmond tested the nervous Caballero – starting ahead of number one Thibaut Courtois – with a long-range strike before Morata settled the affair. Rising well in the box, the former Real Madrid star guided a header past McCarthy for his 15th goal of the season.
Striker Charlie Austin struck the post shortly after, as Saints looked to rally, but Chelsea’s defence was not to be breached as they held out for a comfortable and well-deserved 2-0 win.