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Manchester City beats Chelsea with late Silva goal to make FA Cup final

Manchester City’s European rule is over — its domestic dominance is not.

Bernardo Silva’s late goal secured a 1-0 win against Chelsea in their FA Cup semifinal Saturday. That ensured City maintained its pursuit of back-to-back domestic doubles in the week its Champions League defence was ended by Real Madrid.

Pep Guardiola’s team had to dig deep at Wembley, with Chelsea creating the best of the chances before Bernardo struck an 84th-minute winner.

A sweet moment for the Portuguese playmaker was even more special given he missed a penalty in the shootout loss to Madrid on Wednesday.

“(I’m) very happy after a very frustrating week for all of us, for me personally,” Bernardo said. “The good thing is in football at Man City, you play every three days. Every three days you have the chance to put things right and now we have a chance to win another trophy.”

City hoped to become the first team to win back-to-back trebles after winning the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup last season. Without the injured Erling Haaland, it had to show character to bounce back after the disappointment of defeat to Madrid.

Chelsea had chances to take the lead, but Nicolas Jackson wasted three golden opportunities before Bernardo’s decisive moment — converting Kevin De Bruyne’s cross from the left via a deflection from Marc Cucurella.

“We conceded in a moment you should not concede," Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino said.

"We were not capable of being clinical in front of goal, we had many chances but we did not score. In the game we were a little bit better and deserved more, but it is not about deserving it, it is about being clinical and we were not.”

City is aiming to win the Cup for an eighth time, while Guardiola can extend his trophy haul to 16 since joining the club if his team completes the double.

He may look back on this game as being pivotal if City goes on to win the league and Cup, given the physical and mental strain the week has had on his players after being taken to extra time and penalties by Madrid.

Defeat to Chelsea would have raised questions over City's resolve in the final weeks of a campaign when Arsenal and Liverpool are threatening to take the title race all the way.

While he celebrated joyously, fist pumping to the crowd and embracing each of his players, he voiced his anger over the decision to make his team play on Saturday. He said the semifinal should have been moved back 24 hours due to City's Champions League commitments.

“I don’t understand how we survived today. It’s unacceptable to play today. Today is one of the greatest things I have seen from my players," Guardiola said. “I just want to protect my players. It’s unacceptable, it’s common sense. I’m not asking for something special or privilege.”

Manchester United meets Coventry in the other semifinal on Sunday. The final is on May 25.

RELEGATION BATTLE

Burnley’s hopes of Premier League survival were boosted by routing last-placed Sheffield United 4-1.

Vincent Kompany's team is putting together a late-season bid to avoid the drop with only one loss in seven in the league. Burnley is within three points of safety.

The win at Bramall Lane pushed Sheffield United closer to relegation, 10 points from safety with five games to go.

A good day for Burnley was made even better as relegation rival Luton was hammered at home by Brentford 5-1.

Luton, in 18th, had the chance to move out of the bottom three with a win, but is just two points ahead of Burnley in 19th.

Yoane Wissa struck twice for Brentford, which moved 10 points clear of the drop zone.

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James Robson is at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson

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AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

James Robson, The Associated Press