CHELSEA boss Rafael Benitez was left fuming with referee Chris Foy following his failure to award a late penalty, which the Spaniard believed could have changed the outcome of the FA Cup semi-final.
Goals from Samir Nasri and Sergio Aguero put Manchester City in control, but Demba Ba gave Chelsea a lifeline.
The Blues rallied late on and with five minutes to go substitute Fernando Torres appeared to be hauled down by defender Vincent Kompany when through on goal, but Foy waved away appeals for a spot-kick, leaving Benitez baffled.
“The penalty not given was very clear and it could have made a big difference,” he said.
“The consequences could have been a red card and a goal for us which could have changed the game. I don’t know what was in the head of the referee.
“But credit to Manchester City they’re a very good team.”
City manager Roberto Mancini, whose side will play Wigan in the final, refuted Benitez’s claims and refused to criticise Aguero for an apparent stamp on David Luiz.
“I didn’t see it,” he said. “I need glasses. It can happen in football, but the referee was there and Sergio is a good guy. I’m happy we won.
“Everyone will think we’re favourites [against Wigan] but in 90 minutes anything can happen.”
City deservedly took the lead on 35 minutes when Aguero laid the ball into the path of Nasri who stumbled his way to the edge of the six yard box and fired in.
They doubled their lead on 47 minutes when Aguero headed Gareth Barry’s cross in off the post.
But Chelsea got back in the game on 66 minutes when Ba volleyed in magnificently on the turn. It was the first goal City and goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon had conceded in the competition.
Chelsea piled on the pressure, but that failure to win a late penalty broke their spirit and City hung on.