Guro Reiten and Ji So-yun fired holders Chelsea into the Vitality Women’s FA Cup final with superb second-half goals in a 2-0 win against Arsenal.
Chelsea, who beat London rivals Arsenal 3-0 in last season’s final, were arguably second best in the first half before sealing a Wembley return to face Manchester City on May 15.
Norway midfielder Reiten broke the deadlock early in the second half with a fine curling effort and South Korea’s Ji smashed home an unstoppable second 11 minutes later.
Just one point separates Chelsea and Arsenal at the top of the Women’s Super League and there was little to choose between the two teams at Boreham Wood’s Meadow Park before Reiten’s opener.
Arsenal striker Beth Mead had been inches away from giving her side the lead moments before Reiten struck, but it was one-way traffic thereafter.
The Gunners began at a furious pace and dominated the early stages, but it was 20 minutes before their first serious effort on goal, when Vivianne Miedema fired a shot over the crossbar.
Erin Cuthbert was first to threaten for Chelsea five minutes later, but her swerving long-range effort was comfortably held by goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger.
Free-flowing football gave way to tense, nervy exchanges in the first half and, while Chelsea grew into the game, both sides were restricted to half-chances.
The tie came alive after the restart. Mead flashed an angled shot agonisingly wide for Arsenal after a superb turn in the box, but Chelsea snatched the lead moments later.
Arsenal defenders backed off, allowing Reiten too much time and space to plant a brilliant finish from 25 yards beyond Zinsberger in the 50th minute.
Beth England went close to scoring Chelsea’s second, but Zinsberger produced a fine low save to keep out the striker’s shot under pressure.
But Chelsea sensed a jittery Arsenal defence was there for the taking and they went 2-0 up in the 61st minute through Ji’s brilliant strike.
Sam Kerr raced on to a diagonal pass into the area and when an attempted clearance broke to Ji on the edge of the box, the South Korean midfielder evaded a challenge and crashed an unstoppable drive into the top corner.
Zinsberger rescued the Gunners again, saving from Sophie Ingle after defender Lotte Wubben-Moy had been dispossessed in the area.
It was all Chelsea as Arsenal tired. England rifled another effort over, while Blues goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger was forced into her first save of the match when denying Mead in a one-on-one in the closing stages.