Chelsea beat Man United in FA Cup
Indoor football shoes mercurial superfly holders Chelsea kept one hand on the FA Cup by overcoming a lacklustre Manchester United 10 at Stamford Bridge indoor football shoes on Monday in their quarterfinal replay.
Senegalese striker Demba Ba settled the tie with a memorable goal early in the second half to send Chelsea into the last four for the sixth time in eight seasons.
Despite his unpopularity with the Chelsea fans, interim manager Rafael Benitez could yet end the season with two trophies, as Russians Rubin Kazan await in the Europa League quarterfinals on Thursday.
United, meanwhile, have now gone nine years without winning the FA Cup, having seen hopes of a league, cup and Champions League treble evaporate in the space of a month.
Their 15point lead in the Premier League means they are virtually guaranteed to succeed City as champions, but manager Alex Ferguson faces the odd prospect of an end to the campaign with nothing to play for.
Benitez complained that Ferguson snubbed his offer of a handshake prior to the 22 draw in the sides’ first meeting, but the United manager put the matter to bed by offering Benitez a perfunctory handshake as the Spaniard emerged from mercurial superfly the tunnel.
Instead, the day’s first headlines were created by Ferguson’s team indoor football shoes selection.
With Wayne Rooney absent due to a groin injury and Robin van Persie on the bench, Danny Welbeck supported Javier Hernandez in attack, while Phil Jones bolstered the midfield.
Benitez made six changes to the team beaten at Southampton on Saturday, and if there was unfamiliarity in the two lineups, it told in a very cautious opening.
Neither goalkeeper was tested until United number one David de Gea mercurial superfly blocked from Ba in the 31st minute, by which time the hosts had already lost Ashley Cole to an apparent hamstring injury.
United’s imprecision in attack forced them to rely on shots from range, with Nani drilling narrowly wide from 25 yards and Hernandez almost embarrassing Petr Cech with a skidding shot that the Czech goalkeeper kicked away in unorthodox fashion.
The creative players were beginning to come into the game though, and at the other end Eden Hazard bent a shot over the bar from Oscar’s layoff.
Juan Mata had been quiet, but four minutes into the second half he created the opening goal with a lofted pass that Ba hooked past De Gea with a sublime volley.
A United equaliser seemed certain in the 61st minute when Hernandez ghosted in to meet Welbeck’s cross with a closerange header, but Cech showed astonishing reflexes to deflect the ball over the bar.
Ferguson sent on van Persie, followed by Ryan Giggs, by which time Mata had threatened to extend the hosts’ lead by thrashing a shot into the side netting.
United had another close mercurial superfly shave moments later, with Hazard seizing on a loose pass from Michael Carrick and bearing down on goal, only to roll his shot wide from 12 yards mercurial superfly.