CHELSEA 1, MANCHESTER UNITED 0
Sir Alex Ferguson’s double dream is over for another season after Chelsea dumped Manchester United out of the FA Cup. It was a game that never reached the heights but Chelsea did enough to deservedly win the quarter final replay after a stunning goal by Demba Ba was followed up by a magnificent save by Petr Cech from Javier Hernandez to set up a semi-final for Rafa Benitez’ men against Manchester City on April 14.
This surely was the game for tacticians in the first half as chances were few and far between aside from a couple of attempts to lighten the gloom by Chelsea. United started lethargically and didn’t seem to be able to raise their game in their customary fashion.
Ferguson said United were comfortable until the goal but was reminded of a similar effort scored by Ba for Newcastle United.
“We spoke about Ba and he scored the same type of goal for Newcastle United. We have to be aware of that.
“Today we were comfortable in the first half and they were no threat to us. the goal changed the game. We had a lot of possession but didn’t make the best use of it.
“Cech had a great save from Chicarito and we didn’t concede another, especially against players like Mata, Oscar and Hazard.”
Things were looking up for the home side after Demba Ba’s acrobatic volley with an outstretched boot at the start of the second half put Chelsea into the lead after Juan Mata’s lofted pass over the top found the Senegalese striker in space.
Javer Hernandez’ header forced a magnificent save from Petr Cech on the hour after Welbeck’s cross. Chelsea’s Czech stopper had to stretch to meet the Mexican’s strike for what surely was the save of the season.
Mata found the side netting with a vicious strike as United brought on Robin Van Persie and then Ryan Giggs in an effort to save the game. The Dutchman had been in good form recently, with three international goals for Holland, but his golden touch for United has deserted him in the last nine games as he couldn’t test Petr Cech with the few chances that came his way.
Instead, it was Chelsea who were in the ascendancy and Eden Hazard stole a loose pass from Michael Carrick but pulled his shot wide as did Ramires a few minutes later while Mata and Oscar drove wide as the clock counted down.
United had a brief chance through Van Persie as the game drew to a close but he volleyed over from seven yards out but Chelsea showed just who was boss as their trio of tricky players – Oscar, Hazard and Mata combined to produce a chance for the Spaniard whose shot was saved by De Gea.
Ashley Young’s cross in added time found Van Persie but the Dutchman was unable to get his header on target as United threw everything at Chelsea in a bid to equalise but it wasn’t United’s day.