01 April 2013

A Decade-Long Drought: Chelsea 1 Manchester United 0

Demba Ba's half-volley shot proved to be the eventual winner
Image taken from The Daily Mail UK

 Azpilicueta (Y 77')
     (SUB Bertrand 22' (Y 58')) 
 Mata (Y 89')
 Oscar (Y 90')
     (SUB Moses 90+1')
 Ba (GOAL! 49')
     (SUB Torres 90+3')

 Unused subs: 
 De Gea
 Cleverley (Y 54')
     (SUB van Persie 61') 
     (SUB Giggs 65')
     (SUB Young 80')

 Unused subs: 

Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United crashed out of the FA Cup in the narrowest of margins, but the scoreline failed to depict the lack of steel the Reds exhibited as they lost to Chelsea in their FA Cup replay, extending the Mancunian giants FA Cup trophy drought to a decade.

The first half-started lethargically, in a fashion unexpected of two top-four teams. Sloppy passes from both passes saw the ball exchange possession swiftly and intermittently. Both sides didn't have much efforts on goal until later in the half, when Hernandez collected the ball from the edge of the box, only for him to decide to switch to his preferred right foot. The time it took would prove costly. 

The Blues, on their part, sparked with a charge from Belgian playmaker Eden Hazard. He crossed the ball towards Ba who tried to sneak it past De Gea, but the Spaniard kicked it away. Cech would respond with a foot save of his own, saving Chicharito's attempt with a bicycle kick on the follow-through.

Chicharito's second-half header from close range was denied by Petr Cech
Image taken from The Daily Mail UK

Second-half saw Rafa Benitez' men switch on grandiosely as early as the 49th minute, when Mata's long pass from the middle of the pitch saw the ball fall in front of Demba Ba, who bashed it in towards the back of the net.

Alex Ferguson tried to revitalise his chances of staying in the FA Cup by bringing in van Persie, Ryan Giggs and Ashley Young, but the Reds just couldn't create a decent chance. Their best attempt came just at the hour mark, when Welbeck's cross from the right was headed in by Chicharito in the same fashion as he did when the two sides last met. Cech made a fine save.

At that point, United succumbed to fatigue and lack of confidence as midfield maestros Mata, Oscar and Hazard trudged over United's shape on the pitch.

In the end, United, the Comeback Kings of lore, just couldn't get that crucial equalizer to stay in the competition. Sir Alex Ferguson will now have to be content with the promise of a 20th League title as the Red Devils go on to their 10th year without an FA Cup trophy.

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