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1 April 2013
• Stamford Bridge, London
Referee: P. Dowd
• Attendance: 40704
D. Ba 49'
Thanks one again for joining me in Goal.com's Live Match Centre. Stay on the site for all the reaction from Stamford Bridge but until next time, goodbye folks!
A brilliantly taken goal from Demba Ba early in the second half proved enough for Chelsea to setup a mouthwatering Wembley semi-final against Manchester City. Sir Alex Ferguson will be bitterly disappointed, his side weren't really at the races today.
FULL-TIME: Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United
90' + 4'
Ivanovic manages to beat Chicharito to the ball in a foot race just as the Mexican looked as if he was through on goal. Great pace from the big Serbian defender.
90' + 3'
90' + 3'
CHANCE! Ashley Young floats a right-footed cross in from the left flank but Van Persie's header drifts harmlessly over the bar.
90' + 2'
Victor Moses has a chance to shoot with his left foot after a Chelsea break but elects to turn back onto his right foot, wasting the chance in the process.
90' + 1'
90' + 1'
Four minutes of injury time to be added at the end of the half.
Ryan Giggs manages to find some space for a cross but Chicharito isn't able to direct his effort, from the Welshman's pass, on target.
Yellow CardJuan Mata
WHAT A CHANCE! Robin van Persie, of all people, volleys over from 5 yards out with the goal gaping. Patrice Evra did remarkably well to drive down the left flank before producing a quality cross but the Dutchman couldn't keep his volleyed effort down. What a let off for the Blues.
Demba Ba manages to turn Smalling in the box and looked like he was about to double the hosts' lead before being penalised for a foul on the Manchester United defender. Close call, that one.
Wayne Veysey reports: "Juan Mata is running the show now as Chelsea look extremely threatening on the counter-attack. But the home side's finishing is off colour. Time and again, chances are sailing over and either side of the woodwork without even troubling David De Gea."
CHANCE! Good play from Oscar to exchange passes with Eden Hazard before firing off a shot at goal. The Brazilian's effort doesn't trouble De Gea though.
Valencia plays a lovely ball into the middle looking for Van Persie, but he can't direct the header towards Cech's goal. Ryan Giggs played a super pass seconds earlier to send Hernandez scampering clear.
Ashley Young is brought on as Sir Alex Ferguson has a final roll of the dice. Manchester United have been a shadow of their usual self this afternoon.
Juan Mata seems to be having another personal battle with his compatriot David De Gea. The United keeper is on top at the moment as Mata slices a left-footed shot over the bar from inside the box.
Yellow CardCésar Azpilicueta
Wayne Veysey reports from Stamford Bridge: " Chelsea are looking very dangerous now but their finishing is not matching their approach play. The hosts will know that a second goal is requited to provide an kind of insurance against such high calibre opponents."
Bertrand looks for Ba over the top, like Mata did for Chelsea's goal, but Rio Ferdinand isn't going to be beaten by the same trick twice and sheppards the ball out of play.
Chelsea continue to push for a second as Mata and Hazard construct another attack. The Belgian eventually lays a pass off for Ramires to shoot but the Brazilian's first-time effort is scuffed high and wide.
Great tackle by Phil Jones on Eden Hazard as Chelsea flew forward on the counterattack. Oscar had carried the ball from defence into attack but United managed to retreat in time to scupper the chance.
Chelsea have taken their foot off the gas and are allowing the visitors to dictate the match. It's a dangerous tactic with over 20 minutes still to play but Sir Alex Ferguson's side aren't exactly penetrating the hosts at the moment.
CHANCE! Carrick again plays another loose pass and Eden Hazard is on to it in a flash. The Belgian sprints past both United centre-halves but drags his shot wide of the post with only David De Gea to beat. Massive chance spurned by the Chelsea man.
Unusually wasteful from Michael Carrick, the Manchester United midfielder blasts a shot into the stands from range with options avaliable to him left and right.
Wayne Veysey reports from Stamford Bridge: "his is really opening up now. Hernandez has just inspired one of the saves of the season from Petr Cech with a diving header that had looked destined for the net. Ferguson has sent on Robin van Persie for the ineffective Tom Cleverley as United go all out for the equaliser. Ryan Giggs is about to join him."
CHANCE! Juan Mata finds plenty of space on the left-hand side and drifts infield before firing a powerful shot into the side netting. De Gea may have got a touch on that, nevertheless, it's a goal kick.
Robin van Persie
UNBELIEVABLE SAVE! What a stop from Cech to deny Chicharito! The Mexican looked like he had converted Danny Welbeck's cross at the back post with a diving header but the Chelsea goalkeeper miraculously managed to claw it over the bar.
Yellow CardRyan Bertrand
It's Sir Alex Ferguson's side who require the urgency but the Blues are on top at the moment. The United boss is about to turn to Robin van Persie to change the flow of the match.
CHANCE! Ramires digs out a low cross into the box but Smalling does enough to stop Demba Ba getting on the end of it. Moments later Juan Mata clips a ball back into the area with David De Gea doing well to claim it.
Yellow CardTom Cleverley
Valencia wins the ball from Hazard before Cleverley takes out Ramires with a thumping late challenge. The Manchester United midfielder is booked with the Chelsea fans clamouring for harsher punishment.
Now what have Manchester United got in answer to that? Their season effectively ends with defeat today with their Premier League title all but wrapped up.
GOAL! Chelsea lead! And it's a wonderful goal from Demba Ba! Juan Mata plays a ball over the United defence for the Sengalese to run on to and he does exactly that before clipping a first time volley, with the ball coming over his shoulder, past the motionless David De Gea. Worth the wait that one!
Nani takes the free kick but doesn't manage to get it past the wall. The Portuguese then crosses into the box but Cech comes out and catches comfortably.
Early chance for Manchester United from a free kick just on the edge of the area after David Luiz's foul on Phil Jones.
The teams are back out for the second half, Manchester United will get us back underway...
Not quite the rip-roaring affair we were hoping for was it? It sparked into life towards the end of the half but both sides looked well below their usual standards for the majority of the match so far. Both defences have been fairly comfortable, lets hope that changes in the second half.
HALF-TIME: Chelsea 0-0 Manchester United
45' + 1'
John Obi Mikel finds himself in a pocket of space and decides to have a pop at goal from the edge of the area. The Nigerian's shot is blocked for a corner and David De Gea does well to collect the resulting delivery from Mata.
One minute to be added on at the end of the half.
Bertrand gets himself into a spot of bother by tussling with Nani. The Chelsea left-back nudges the ball back to his goalkeeper before tugging the Manchester United midfielder in the box. United players appeal for a penalty but the referee isn't haven't any of it.
CHANCE! David De Gea catches Juan Mata's free kick and in an instant gets United on the attack with some fine distribution. His long ball finds Chicharito who elects to shoot from range and almost manages to catch Petr Cech out. The Blues shot-stopper was confused by the flight of the ball and did well in the end to get something behind the effort.
CHANCE! Eden Hazard fires a right-footed shot just over the angle of crossbar and post after rushing onto a loose ball in the penalty area. The Belgian might have been better off taking some of the power he produced off of that shot.
A bright moment for Nani! Manchester United win the ball back on the halfway line and Nani advances through the middle of the park before flashing a low left-footed shot a yard or so wide of De Gea's far post.
Chelsea win a free kick about 30 yards out, slightly to the left of the goal. David Luiz steps up and proceeds to balloon the ball high over the bar and into the stands.
That chance for Ba has the potential to spark the game into life, we can only hope. The former Newcastle man is involved again, this time on the left side of the box. He tries to make space for a right-footed shot but Chris Smalling closes him down and makes a block.
CHANCE! First shot of the game! Chelsea break forward through Hazard who plays the ball out wide for Ba to shoot from an angle. The Senegalese hits his shot hard and low but David De Gea manages to block with his feet.
Wayne Veysey reports from Stamford Bridge: "Half-an-hour gone and no hint of a proper opening yet. Both teams are struggling to find any kind of rhythm and comfortably shutting one another out."
It's contagious. Juan Mata is the latest to misplace a simple pass, the Spaniard had a chance to find Hazard in a dangerous position out wide but his pass was easily cut out by Phil Jones.
Hazard sells Bertrand short with a pass allowing United to launch a counterattack. Chicharito cuts inside David Luiz inside the box after carrying the ball in the box but loses his footing before he can get his shot off. Let off for the hosts, that.
Bit more like it from Manchester United. Welbeck plays a fine ball out to Cleverley on the right hand side but the midfielder can't pick out Chicharito in a crowded penalty area.
It's all very, very scrappy in the middle of the park. Oscar and Mata threaten to weave through the United midfield but the Brazilian loses out in a tussle with Patrice Evra.
Ashley Cole pulled up with what looked like a hamstring injury in that last passage of play. Ryan Bertrand replaces the England international at left-back for Chelsea.
Brilliant from Danny Welbeck. He wins the ball on the edge of his own area before galloping past Ashley Cole and kick-starting a United counterattack. Welbeck then finds Nani but the Portuguese's pass towards Chicharito is cut out. Great from Welbeck, very poor from Nani.
Is this some kind of April fools joke? Nani once again gives the ball away under very little pressure allowing Chelsea to launch an attack. Juan Mata eventually crosses from the left but Chris Smalling stoops low to get his head to it.
Wayne Veysey reports from Stamford Bridge: "Both teams have changed more than half of their starting elevens, but this match seems to have started at a slighly sedate pace in comparison to breakneck league fixtures. Rafa Benitez warned on Saturday it simply was not possible to have a classic today. He could well be spot on with that prediction."
Oh dear. Patrice Evra slides a ball down the line for Nani but the United winger once again lets himself down with a uncharacteristically poor touch.
The visitors are now growing into the match after a tentative opening period.
Good defending from Branislav Ivanovic to not only keep up with Danny Welbeck but to also dispossess the Manchester United forward after a lung-busting run into the Chelsea half.
Oscar cuts back on to his left foot on the right flank but the Brazilian chooses to float one in towards the back post with none of his team-mates running into that space.
A shake of the head from Sir Alex Ferguson as Nani miscontrols a simple pass, not the first time the Portuguese has been guilty of that either, even though we're still inside the first 10 minutes.
Every Rio Ferdinand touch of the ball is roundly greeted by boos from the Stamford Bridge faithful. They do love a good boo here in west London.
No real sign of urgency from either side in the early exchanges, the game seems to be lacking in tempo.
Oscar makes a very smart turn in the box to leave Evra in his trail but his cutback, looking for Eden Hazard, is blocked by Chris Smalling and United survive the scare.
Chelsea start the game on the front foot and enjoy a good spell of early possession before Michael Carrick eventually nicks the ball back and gets the visitors on the attack.
Chelsea take the kick-off and we are underway at Stamford Bridge.
The teams are emerging from the tunnel and we are moments away from kick-off...
Sir Alex Ferguson reveals that Wayne Rooney picked up a groin injury on international duty and is therefore omitted from the squad. No major bust up then...
For Chelsea, Rafael Benitez has rung the changes following Saturday's defeat to Southampton, with Mata recalled to the side while Demba Ba replaces Fernando Torres in attack. John Terry, who started and scored at St. Mary's at the weekend, is dropped as Branislav Ivanovic and David Luiz form the partnership in the centre of the Blues' defence.
So Wayne Rooney doesn't even makes the 18-man Manchester United squad while Robin van Persie has to be content with a place on the bench. Sir Alex Ferguson instead opts to start with both Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck, while Nani is picked on the left flank and Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra return to the back four.
Manchester United: De Gea; Jones, Smalling, Ferdinand, Evra; Valencia, Carrick, Cleverley, Nani; Hernandez, Welbeck. Subs: Lindegaard, Giggs, Young, Van Persie, Powell, Kagawa, Vermijl.
Chelsea: Cech; Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Luiz, Cole; Mikel, Ramires; Hazard, Mata, Oscar; Ba. Subs: Turnbull, Terry, Benayoun, Bertrand, Moses, Lampard, Torres.
Good afternoon ladies and gents! Welcome to Goal.com's play-by-play coverage of Chelsea v Manchester United from Stamford Bridge LIVE!
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