Chelsea reached the final of the 2020-21 Women’s FA Cup as they were too good for holders Manchester City.
Erin Cuthbert put them ahead in the 23rd minute with a powerful strike from a tight angle on the edge of the box.
Melanie Leupolz doubled Chelsea’s lead five minutes later as City could not clear and she scored with a low shot.
City, who won the tournament in 2017, 2019 and 2020, conceded a third in the last minute when Beth England headed home a Jessie Fleming cross.
The hosts had missed a glorious chance when it was goalless as Ellen White shot just wide.
The second semi-final sees Women’s Super League leaders Arsenal entertain Brighton at Meadow Park (16:45 BST) in a game you can watch on BBC Two, with coverage beginning at 16:30.
The last final was held in November 2020 behind closed doors at Wembley because of the coronavirus pandemic, but this year’s showpiece – with fans able to attend – will take place at the stadium on Sunday, 5 December.
This competition was delayed by three months earlier in the year because of the pandemic and this was the fifth time in seven years these teams had met at this stage.
However, City, ninth in the Women’s Super League, have had a tough few months, hampered by an injury crisis that includes captain Steph Houghton, reigning Fifa Best Women’s Player Lucy Bronze and goalkeepers Ellie Roebuck and Karen Bardsley among those on the sidelines.
That saw City name only five substitutes, compared to nine from a Chelsea side second in the WSL and who beat Juventus in their Champions League group match last time out.
City started brightly but White, who needs three more goals to be England’s record female goalscorer, could only shoot wide when under pressure.
Chelsea boss Emma Hayes said she “always loved epic games” against City and her side took control after 20 minutes.
Aniek Nouwen headed wide and Fran Kirby was denied by Jill Scott’s excellent goal-saving challenge, before Cuthbert’s fine strike gave the visitors the lead.
Leupolz quickly added the second, but home goalkeeper Karima Taieb should have done better as she was beaten at her near post.
To her credit, Taieb kept City in the game with a number of fine saves to stop Sam Kerr, Kirby at point-blank range, and to deny Cuthbert her second and Chelsea’s third.
Lauren Hemp twice fired wide for the hosts, but Chelsea’s defence remained strong.
England’s late header handed City their biggest home defeat since 2014 and sent Hayes’ side, FA Cup winners in 2015 and 2018, back to Wembley.
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Manchester City Women
Man City Women
- 3StokesBooked at 17mins
- 24WalshSubstituted forLosadaat 67′minutes
- 21ShawSubstituted forParkat 45′minutes
- 8LeupolzSubstituted forSpenceat 73′minutes
- 11ReitenSubstituted forFlemingat 73′minutes
- 20KerrSubstituted forEnglandat 58′minutes
- 14KirbySubstituted forCharlesat 79′minutes
Match ends, Manchester City Women 0, Chelsea Women 3.
Second Half ends, Manchester City Women 0, Chelsea Women 3.
Corner, Manchester City Women. Conceded by Jessica Carter.
Attempt saved. Jessica Park (Manchester City Women) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner.
Goal! Manchester City Women 0, Chelsea Women 3. Bethany England (Chelsea Women) header from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Jessie Fleming with a cross.
Foul by Erin Cuthbert (Chelsea Women).
Caroline Weir (Manchester City Women) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Jessie Fleming (Chelsea Women) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Janine Beckie (Manchester City Women).
Attempt saved. Bethany England (Chelsea Women) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.
Attempt blocked. Millie Bright (Chelsea Women) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Erin Cuthbert with a cross.
Corner, Chelsea Women. Conceded by Laura Coombs.
Attempt missed. Bethany England (Chelsea Women) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Erin Cuthbert with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Chelsea Women. Conceded by Janine Beckie.
Substitution, Chelsea Women. Niamh Charles replaces Fran Kirby.
Drew Spence (Chelsea Women) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Vicky Losada (Manchester City Women).
Substitution, Chelsea Women. Drew Spence replaces Melanie Leupolz.
Substitution, Chelsea Women. Jessie Fleming replaces Guro Reiten.
Attempt blocked. Caroline Weir (Manchester City Women) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Laura Coombs.