Chelsea thrashed Tottenham to set up an FA Cup final meeting with Liverpool - but the victory was accompanied by fierce controversy that renewed the debate over the need for goalline technology.
The scoreline reflects an emphatic win for Roberto di Matteo's side as they received the perfect lift before Wednesday's Champions League semi-final first leg against Barcelona at Stamford Bridge.
Spurs, however, were left complaining bitterly that they were the victims of an injustice that swung the destiny of this all-London confrontation decisively in Chelsea's favour when referee Martin Atkinson made a crucial intervention just after the interval.
Chelsea were leading through Didier Drogba's goal when Ledley King and Benoit Assou-Ekotto blocked Juan Mata's shot in a chaotic goalmouth scramble.
The ball did not appear to cross the line, a view supported by television replays as Blues captain John Terry also joined the melee, but referee Atkinson awarded the goal - to the obvious anger of Spurs and their management team.
Harry Redknapp's players pleaded with the officials to reconsider, but their protests were in vain and Chelsea had taken a decisive hold on the game.
Gareth Bale gave his side hope with a goal shortly afterwards but the real damage was done and Chelsea reasserted their authority to finish easy winners with further goals from Ramires, Frank Lampard and Florent Malouda.
Chelsea will point to that victory margin as confirmation of their superiority - but Spurs will complain their hopes of turning the game around were damaged fatally by Atkinson's decision.
The referee seemed well placed to award the goal, but video evidence suggested the protests were well founded and the incident only strengthens the case of those lobbying for technology to assist officials.
Drogba's Wembley ways
Didier Drogba has scored seven goals in seven Wembley appearances and more times at the national stadium than at any other venue apart from Stamford Bridge.
After early sparring, Spurs started to take control as the interval approached and twice came close to taking the lead. Terry blocked Rafael van der Vaart's header on the line and the same player saw his cross strike the post after Adebayor was unable to apply a touch.
So it was against the run of play that their London rivals took the lead two minutes before the interval through Drogba. He rolled William Gallas inside the area before flashing a stunning finish high past keeper Carlo Cudicini.
The second half was only four minutes old when the moment arrived that will leave Spurs and their supporters nursing wounds about this semi-final forever.
David Luiz and Terry challenged for headers and when the loose ball fell to Mata, his shot was blocked on the line by a bundle of bodies that included King, Assou-Ekotto and Terry. Referee Atkinson was swift to award the goal as Mata wheeled away in celebration - much to the disgust of the Spurs players.
Fuelled by their fury, Spurs surged forward and gave themselves hope after 56 minutes when Scott Parker's precise through-ball released Adebayor. He was pulled down in the area by Cech but referee Atkinson allowed play to continue for Bale to roll the ball into an empty net.
The goal also cost the Blues the services of Luiz, who was injured in attempting to clear and was taken off on a stretcher and replaced by Gary Cahill.
Tottenham pushed forward in an attempt to complete the recovery - but only succeeded in leaving themselves wide open to Chelsea's attacks and Redknapp's side ended in total disarray.
The Blues reopened their two-goal advantage with 13 minutes left when Mata found time and space to play in Ramires, who lifted a composed finish over Cudicini as the keeper came out.
All that remained was for the west Londoners to complete the formalities and they did so in style against a Spurs side thoroughly demoralised in the closing stages.
Lampard's spectacular free-kick from 30 yards left Cudicini helpless and, with Redknapp's men waiting to be put out of their misery, Malouda escaped the attentions of their defence to add a simple fifth to confirm that it is Chelsea who will be back at Wembley to face Liverpool on 5 May.
Full Time The final whistle goes and the game is over.
Assist on the goal came from Juan Mata.
90:00 +3:16 Goal scored
Goal! - Florent Malouda - Tottenham 1 - 5 Chelsea Florent Malouda scores a goal from deep inside the penalty box low into the middle of the goal. Tottenham 1-5 Chelsea.
Petr Cech restarts play with the free kick.
90:00 +2:29 Substitution
Substitution Scott Parker leaves the field to be replaced by Raniere Sandro.
90:00 +2:29 Booking
Booking Mikel receives a caution for unsporting behaviour.
90:00 +1:50 Booking
Booking Scott Parker is shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Mikel by Scott Parker.
Petr Cech takes the free kick.
90:00 +0:41 Booking
Booking Emmanuel Adebayor booked.
Emmanuel Adebayor concedes a free kick for a foul on Gary Cahill.
Florent Malouda has an effort at goal from close in which goes wide right of the target.
Scott Parker challenges Fernando Torres unfairly and gives away a free kick. Juan Mata takes the free kick.
Emmanuel Adebayor concedes a free kick for a foul on Ashley Cole. John Terry takes the direct free kick.
Substitution Fernando Torres is brought on as a substitute for Didier Drogba.
Substitution Florent Malouda replaces Ramires.
Assist on the goal came from Didier Drogba.
80:21 Goal scored
Goal! - Frank Lampard - Tottenham 1 - 4 Chelsea Frank Lampard hits the back of the net with a goal direct from the free kick from outside the area to the bottom right corner of the goal. Tottenham 1-4 Chelsea.
Booking Booking for William Gallas for unsporting behaviour.
Didier Drogba fouled by William Gallas, the ref awards a free kick.
Inswinging corner taken by Luka Modric from the right by-line.
Kyle Walker delivers the ball, Jose Bosingwa makes a clearance.
Assist on the goal came from Juan Mata.
76:37 Goal scored
Goal! - Ramires - Tottenham 1 - 3 Chelsea Ramires gets on the score sheet with a goal from deep inside the penalty box low into the middle of the goal. Tottenham 1-3 Chelsea.
Frank Lampard takes the outswinging corner, William Gallas manages to make a clearance.
Mikel delivers the ball from the free kick right-footed from right channel, Carlo Cudicini makes a save.
Substitution Rafael Van der Vaart goes off and Jermain Defoe comes on.
Emmanuel Adebayor challenges Salomon Kalou unfairly and gives away a free kick.
Corner taken by Rafael Van der Vaart from the left by-line to the near post, clearance by Didier Drogba.
Rafael Van der Vaart takes a outswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post, Mikel makes a clearance.
Outswinging corner taken by Rafael Van der Vaart, Didier Drogba manages to make a clearance.
Gareth Bale produces a cross, clearance made by Gary Cahill.
Corner taken left-footed by Juan Mata, Gary Cahill has an effort at goal from the edge of the area that misses to the right of the target.
Emmanuel Adebayor takes a shot. Blocked by John Terry.
Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Frank Lampard from the right by-line, John Terry gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Ledley King. Free kick taken by Carlo Cudicini.
Didier Drogba takes a shot. Blocked by Ledley King.
Substitution (Chelsea) makes a substitution, with Gary Cahill coming on for David Luiz.
Assist by Emmanuel Adebayor.
55:40 Goal scored
Goal! - Gareth Bale - Tottenham 1 - 2 Chelsea Gareth Bale scores a goal from inside the area low into the middle of the goal. Tottenham 1-2 Chelsea.
The ball is delivered by Didier Drogba, Benoit Assou-Ekotto manages to make a clearance.
Corner taken by Rafael Van der Vaart from the right by-line, clearance made by David Luiz.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto sends in a cross, clearance made by Jose Bosingwa.
Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Frank Lampard, clearance made by Kyle Walker.
Juan Mata takes a shot. Save made by Carlo Cudicini.
Assist by John Terry.
48:34 Goal scored
Goal! - Juan Mata - Tottenham 0 - 2 Chelsea Juan Mata finds the back of the net with a goal from inside the penalty box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Tottenham 0-2 Chelsea.
Ramires takes the outswinging corner,
Juan Mata takes a shot. Save by Carlo Cudicini.
The ball is delivered by Ramires, clearance by Ledley King.
The second half has started.
45:00 +0:59 Half time
Half Time The match has reached half-time.
Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Frank Lampard.
Ramires crosses the ball, Ledley King manages to make a clearance.
Frank Lampard provided the assist for the goal.
42:33 Goal scored
Goal! - Didier Drogba - Tottenham 0 - 1 Chelsea A goal is scored by Didier Drogba from inside the penalty box to the top left corner of the goal. Tottenham 0-1 Chelsea.
Headed effort from inside the area by Frank Lampard misses to the right of the target.
Scott Parker gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Didier Drogba. Free kick taken by Ashley Cole.
Luka Modric takes a shot. David Luiz gets a block in.
Rafael Van der Vaart has an effort at goal from outside the area hitting the post.
Corner taken right-footed by Frank Lampard, Gareth Bale makes a clearance.
Ramires sends in a cross, clearance made by Kyle Walker.
Scott Parker delivers the ball, clearance made by Jose Bosingwa.
Didier Drogba takes a shot. Ledley King gets a block in.
Salomon Kalou produces a right-footed shot from just outside the box that goes wide right of the goal.
Foul by Ramires on Luka Modric, free kick awarded. Ledley King restarts play with the free kick.
Inswinging corner taken by Frank Lampard from the left by-line, Emmanuel Adebayor makes a clearance.
Didier Drogba takes a shot. Blocked by Benoit Assou-Ekotto.
The ball is swung over by Gareth Bale, John Terry makes a clearance.
Didier Drogba is caught offside. Indirect free kick taken by Carlo Cudicini.
Unfair challenge on Kyle Walker by Ramires results in a free kick. Benoit Assou-Ekotto takes the free kick.
Aaron Lennon takes a shot. Salomon Kalou gets a block in.
Corner taken by Rafael Van der Vaart, Salomon Kalou manages to make a clearance.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Jose Bosingwa on Gareth Bale. Free kick crossed left-footed by Rafael Van der Vaart from left channel, clearance by Juan Mata.
Corner taken by Rafael Van der Vaart played to the near post, clearance made by Ashley Cole.
Aaron Lennon takes a shot. Blocked by Mikel.
Rafael Van der Vaart takes a shot. Blocked by Frank Lampard.
Mikel concedes a free kick for a foul on Rafael Van der Vaart. Scott Parker takes the direct free kick.
Juan Mata produces a cross, William Gallas manages to make a clearance.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Ramires on Benoit Assou-Ekotto. Free kick taken by Luka Modric.
Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Rafael Van der Vaart from the left by-line.
Kyle Walker takes the free kick.
Booking The referee cautions Didier Drogba for unsporting behaviour.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Aaron Lennon by Didier Drogba.
Shot from just outside the area by Rafael Van der Vaart misses to the left of the target.
Centre by Jose Bosingwa, clearance by William Gallas.
Centre by Ashley Cole.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto fouled by Ramires, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Carlo Cudicini.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Scott Parker on Ramires. Strike on goal comes in from Didier Drogba from the free kick.
The ball is delivered by Didier Drogba, Headed effort on goal by Frank Lampard from inside the penalty box misses to the right of the target.
The referee blows for offside. Direct free kick taken by Carlo Cudicini.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.