Southampton denied 'match-defining' FA Cup goal

Southampton are fuming after they were robbed of a 'match-defining' goal in their 2-0 loss to Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final overnight.

Chelsea booked their place in the final against Manchester United with what proved to be a comfortable win, but it could have played out another way.

Olivier Giroud scored for the Blues just seconds after half-time, all too easily allowed to jink through and turn home a smart individual goal.

But Southampton began to attack after going behind and, in the 73rd minute, thought they had levelled.

The ball fell into the net after Chelsea goalkeeper Willy Caballero dropped the ball over the line as he attempted to catch it over the top of Saints forward Charlie Austin.

However, the referee found Austin's involvement in the play was worthy of a foul as he whistled against the player for an infringement on Caballero.

Foul? Pic: Getty

Southampton couldn't get as close again, with manager Mark Hughes left fuming over the call and the decision not to involve the video assistant referee (VAR).

“It was a match-defining moment,” he said.

“Who knows how the game might have followed from that moment? Why it wasn’t referred, I have no idea. We’re disappointed with the officials and whoever it is who sits in a darkened room.”

Southampton's first FA Cup semi-final appearance since 2003 ended in disappointment and now an old friend lies in wait for Chelsea after Jose Mourinho's United defeated Tottenham over the weekend to reach the final.

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Chelsea can atone for last year's shock FA Cup final defeat to Arsenal and perhaps give their manager Antonio Conte a victorious send-off as speculation continues over his future.

Blues goalscorer Giroud joked of his love for skiing after using fantastic footwork to slalom past several Saints defenders to open the scoring before revealing his happiness at playing at Wembley.

He told BT Sport: "My second passion is actually skiing! Eden (Hazard) gave me good ball, I saw a lot of players in front of me, I just tried to dribble a little bit and had a bit of luck but that's what I wanted to do so at the end of the day I'm very pleased for the team.

"We are in a very good momentum and we want to keep it up. I told the team I really want them to enjoy the FA Cup because I know what kind of feeling it is. It (Wembley) is like my garden and I love to play here. Hopefully for the final we're going to keep it up."

Hazard added: "We played a very good game, especially in the second half. We created a lot of chances and we scored beautiful goals, especially Olivier! It was fully deserved (win). Now we are in the final.

"It's always good to play against (final opponents Manchester United). We've won one, they won at Old Trafford so the final is very good for this kind of game."

with AAP