Demba Ba’s stunning volley dumped Manchester United out of the FA Cup as Chelsea scored a 1-0 Sixth Round Replay victory at Stamford Bridge.
After an entertaining first game in which it ended 2-2 at Old Trafford, this match was a disappointment but Ba’s second half strike was the difference between the sides.
United could have grabbed an equaliser but Petr Cech’s stunning save from Javier Hernandez’s diving header coupled with Robin van Persie firing over from seven yards means ten years since United have won the FA Cup.
The action was slow for the opening half an hour, but then the game suddenly exploded into life. Eden Hazard went past Chris Smalling and played in Ba but his drilled shot was well saved by David De Gea. At the other end, Nani’s long-range shot with his left foot flew inches wide of Cech’s goal, and Chelsea went to attack the other end again.
Hazard played a neat one-two with Oscar before blasting wide from 18 yards while for United, Hernandez’s 40 yard shot changed course in the air and confused Cech for a moment, but the veteran goalkeeper made a smart stop with his feet to keep it level.
After the half-time interval, Chelsea came out with the same attacking intent and went in front in the 49th minute. Juan Mata’s superb clipped pass allowed Ba to volley into the top corner, past the helpless De Gea, and into the top corner. It was a superb goal all round, with the quality of the pass matching the quality of the finish.
That quality was equalled by the save made by Cech to deny Hernandez in the 60th minute. Danny Welbeck’s fierce cross was met by a diving header from the Mexican, but the strong hand of the Czech Republic international kept it out and answered any critics who blamed him for Rickie Lambert’s goal in the game against Southampton on Saturday.
Just after, De Gea proved his worth between the sticks as he kept out Mata from 18 yards. Hazard played the former Valencia man in, but De Gea’s fingertip stop pushed the ball into the side-netting with a fantastic save.Just after, Chelsea’s Belgian winger pounced on Michael Carrick’s poor pass and drove through the United defence, but his left-foot shot was pulled wide to the disappointment of Stamford Bridge.
The away side should have drew level, and the culprit of the miss was their main marksman who came off the bench. Patrice Evra’s low cross found van Persie unmarked in the penlaty area, but the Dutchman blazed over when he should have scored. That miss cost United as Ba’s goal was enough to seal victory and extend Chelsea’s unbeaten run in this competition to 28 games, with Rafa Benitez’s side into the semi-finals.
Match Report by Kyle Dixon (@kyledixon95)