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March 10, 2013
• Old Trafford, Manchester
Referee: H. Webb
• Attendance: 75196
J. Hernández 5'
W. Rooney 11'
E. Hazard 59'
Chelsea deservedly earned a replay after an excellent second half, though United very visibly took their foot off the gas in the second period. A replay does neither side any favours, with United pushing for the title and Chelsea's fixture list already very congested. Goals, drama and plenty of action - a great game of football.
After looking imperious defensively in the first half, United were rattled by Chelsea in the second and had De Gea to thank for keeping them in the FA Cup. Mata pulled the strings for Chelsea, finding space and exploiting gaps, and had a great chance to win the match in stoppage time.
FULL-TIME! That's it, it's all over. A replay awaits the two sides after a spirited fight back from Chelsea saw them overturn a two-goal defecit. The Blues were much better in the second half, and Benitez's subs changed the game. United will be disappointed by how little they tested Cech after taking a 2-0 lead.
90' + 4'
Welbeck wins a throw deep in Chelsea's half and United try to breach the Blues' defence. But Luiz, yet again, wins possession and Chelsea break. Oscar feeds Torres, but De Gea makes a good stop to deny his countryman. United gift possession back to the Blues almost immediately, and Cole is free at the back post but his closed down quickly and his shot is blocked.
90' + 1'
United yet again struggle to fully clear the danger from the resulting set-piece, but Chelsea fail to capitalise.
What a chance! Luiz steps up and robs Van Persie before driving towards goal, then dinks a cross towards Mata at the back post. The Spaniard brings the ball down superbly, flicks the ball over Evans and then passes the ball towards goal. It looks like it is going in, but drifts inches wide of the far post via the boot of De Gea. Great skill from Mata, superb goalkeeping from De Gea.
Torres picks up the ball to the left of goal and releases a shot, but it is deflected behind for a corner. The subsequent set-piece is cleared by Valencia. Torres appears to have been manhandled by Ferdinand off the ball.
Now it is United's turn to attack. Cleverley feeds Carrick on the edge of the box, who has the chance to shoot, but he cuts back inside and overhits a pass aimed at Rooney.
Chelsea remain the dominant force in the match, probing the United defence. Mata, showing no signs of injury, finds space on the edge of the box and fires a shot at goal, but it is a very tame effort and De Gea saves easily.
Big worry for Chelsea. Mata darts into the box and tries to cut back onto his left boot but his standing foot buckles beneath him, sliding on the turf. That could be a twisted ankle, although the Spaniard looks like he will try to continue.
Mata and Hazard play a series of one-twos in and around the box, but the Belgian is just too wide to fire off a shot. United counter with Van Persie. The Dutchman could feed Welbeck but cuts onto his left foot and attempts a shot that is deflected wide. Cech scrambles off his line to prevent the ball going out for a corner.
Luiz heads the resulting free-kick clear, but Valencia recovers the ball and fires it into the box. The ball ricochets to Van Persie, but his half-volley is deflected behind for a corner. The subsequent set-piece is eventually headed clear after a spot of ping-pong inside the box.
Yellow CardEden Hazard
Rooney surges into the box and feed Kagawa on the overlap. The Japanese attacker pulls the ball back from the by-line, but his cut back is behind Van Persie. Chelsea clear the ball as far as Cleverley who is chopped down by Hazard. The goalscorer picks up a yellow card.
Kagawa drifts off to the left flank, dances inside and fires a cross into the box, but Cahill clears with Van Persie lurking.
After sitting back and trying to absorb Chelsea's pressure, United may struggle to adapt their mind frame to get forward and attack once more. Chelsea are very much in the ascendancy.
GOAL!! Chelsea break from the edge of their own box, with Luiz winning possession and driving forward. Ba spot Oscar, who feeds the overlapping Ramires. The Brazilian cuts inside onto his left foot and guides the ball past De Gea and into the far corner. That equaliser has been coming.
It's all Chelsea at Old Trafford, who are laying siege to the United area. Van Persie holds up the ball well and the home side are afforded a rare breather. United look fairly dangerous on the break, but are going to have to dig in here.
Chelsea continue to probe the United defence, working angles and switching the play. Rooney has moved to the left wing with Kagawa now playing through the middle, off Van Persie.
Robin van Persie
The home side have lost their rhythm and control of the match, with Chelsea now deep in United's half. Sir Alex Ferguson is readying Van Persie in response.
GOAL! Mata spread the ball out left to Hazard, on the very corner of the box. The Belgian looks up, takes a touch and then curls a shot towards the far post that evades the diving De Gea and ripples the back of the net. A superb finish. Chelsea very much on top right now.
Chelsea are starting to exert heavy pressure. Hazard and Oscar play a cute one-two on the edge of the box, but the ball is hoofed clear. Luiz picks up the ball and thumps it towards goal, forcing De Gea to make a save.
Chelsea are struggling to breach United's solid backline. Mata tries to find Ba, but Ferdinand steps up and intercepts.
Yellow CardDavid Luiz
Valencia plays a pass for the overlapping Rafael. The Brazilian get to the ball first before being taken out very late by Luiz, who is yellow carded.
Kagawa drifts into space and threads a pass for Chicharito, but the Mexican can't quite catch up with the ball. United's Japanese playmaker is beginning to find time and space.
John Obi Mikel
Carrick is controlling the match for United in the middle of the pitch. He finds Cleverley, but the young midfielder's pass goes straight to Mata. The Spaniard drives forward but is dispossessed. Ramires wins back the ball, however, and advances towards goal, but drags his left-footed shot wide.
Valencia is played in down the right and fires a cross into the box, but Luiz is on hand to clear the ball at the near post.
United pass the ball around with confidence, and Valencia almost plays Rafael in down the right flank. Chelsea, conversely, have been scrappy on the ball so far.
There's a familiarity about the opening play of the second half. Mata crosses into the box, Ferdinand heads clear.
Chelsea get the match back underway.
Rafa Benitez does have options on the bench, however, not least in the form of Hazard. Both Oscar and Moses have struggled to affect the match, while Ba has been wasteful - which could trigger the introduction of Torres. But United have looked very strong at the back and remain dangerous going forward too.
Chicharito gave United the lead within five minutes with a lovely looping header, before Rooney's cross-cum-shot free-kick evaded everyone and snuck in at the far post. Chelsea have offered little in response, with Ferdinand and Evans thumping clear every delivery that has been sent into the box.
HALF-TIME! Man United have a deserved two-goal lead after an engaging half of football. The home side have created a number of chances, and could be further ahead but for the reflexes of Cech. They've also dealt with the threat of Chelsea well, with De Gea barely tested.
45' + 2'
45' + 2'
Rooney picks up the ball on the edge of the box and tries an outrageous chip from 25 yards, but it nestles on the top of the goal netting. United win a corner kick soon after, but there isn't enough time for it to be taken as the half-time whitle is blown.
45' + 2'
Nani is down with an injury and is forced to come off. The Portuguese, who hasn't had the best of weeks, is replaced by Valencia.
Chelsea struggle to clear the ball and almost gift United another goal. First, Cole's back header is almost intercepted by Chicharito, then Cahill passes the ball straight to the Mexican, but his cross for Nani is headed clear.
Kagawa weaves his way towards goal and then squares the ball to Cleverley. The ball takes a bobble, but the young English midfielder steadies himself and unleashes a powerful effort that is bravely blocked by Luiz.
Yellow CardCésar Azpilicueta
Rooney and Chicharito attempt a one-two, but the Mexican is barged off the ball by Azpilicueta is unable to collect the return pass. The Spaniard is rightly booked.
Azpilicueta drives forward and rifles in a cross. The ball fizzes across the face of goal, with Ba converging, but somehow the cross evades everyone.
Chelsea move the ball down the right flank. Mata has the ball with his back to goal just inside the box and back-heels the ball into the path of Moses, which takes several red shirts out of the game. The Nigerian, at a difficult angle, blasts a shot towards goal that goes horribly wide.
Ramires tackles Cleverley yet again in the middle of the pitch and Ba breaks forward once more, but is halted by a strong challenge from Evans.
Chelsea's gameplan seems to revolve around firing crosses into the box, but so far Ba has been unable to compete with Evans and Ferdinand. The United centre-backs have been imperious in the air.
United haven't quite managed to exert their dominance on the match, and have made a few errors in the last ten minutes. Cleverley is tackled by Ramires and Chelsea have a chance to break, but the move fizzles out. It has all become a little bit scrappy.
Chelsea enjoy sustained pressure in United's third, probing the defence. Several crosses are whipped into the box, but each is headed clear. Ferdinand in particular makes a great headed clearance from beneath his own bar with Ba lurking menacingly.
The home side calmly pass the ball around, until Lampard wins possession and Chelsea break. Ba has the ball and drives towards goal. The striker has options either side of him but shoots from range, with the ball trickling into De Gea's arms. Wasted chance.
Cahill picks up the ball on the halfway line and, unchallenged, ambles towards goal. With no United players closing him down, he attempts an ambitious long-range strike that sails over the bar.
The resulting corner is cleared only as a far as Cleverley, on the edge of the box, who pings a shot towards the bottom corner that is well held by Cech.
Evra bombs forwards and cuts the ball back to the penalty spot where Rooney is waiting. The striker fires straight at Cech, but then David Luiz bizarelly heads the rebound back towards goal and the Czech keeper is forced to make a brilliant reflex stop.
Rooney releases Nani and the Portuguese fires a brilliant cross into the box. Chicharito steals a yard on Azpilicueta and meets the ball at the near post, but his outside-of-the-boot finish sails high and wide.
Mata trick and jinks his way towards goal, driving forwards. Ba makes a run across the the Spaniard that opens up space for Lampard. Mata feeds the veteran midfielder, who scoops his first time shot harmlessly into the arms of De Gea.
Lampard feeds Azpilicueta in space down the right flank. The Spaniard has time but wildly over-hits his cross. Chelsea are growing into the game a little.
Rafael presents the ball to Moses deep in his own half. The Nigerian takes a touch but then slices his shot wide of the near post. Let off for United and their Brazilian right-back.
Chelsea enjoy their first period of sustained possession, but are struggling to penetrate United's defence. A cross is whipped in from the left, but Ba can only get the faintest of touches on his header and the defence are able to boot the ball clear.
Oscar wins a free-kick which is curled towards the far post by Mata. Ferdinand rises highest to head the ball clear and United recover possession once more.
Chelsea are showing little sign of a response and appear second best in every area. Carrick is conducting proceedings for the home side in the middle of the pitch.
GOAL!! From the resulting corner, Man United clear the ball and break with Rooney leading the charge. He feeds Nani, who is brought down on the edge of the box by Moses. Rooney takes the set-piece, curling a cross towards the back post which evades everyone and sneaks into the far corner of the net.
Mata whips in a cross that is headed back towards goal by Ba. The ball is half cleared by Ferdinand to Lampard, on the edge of the box, whose powerful shot is blocked by his own team-mate, Oscar. The veteran midfielder recovers the ball and fires another shot at goal, which is deflected behind for a corner.
United have controlled the ball since taking the lead, with Evans, Ferdinand and Carrick recycling possession at the back. Chelsea haven't got a foot hold in the match yet.
GOAL! Michael Carrick drifts a wonderful pass into the box from deep. Cech could come for it, but is caught in no man's land. Chicharito races onto the pass and loops a wonderful header back across goal that drifts in at the far post. A great pass, and an even greater header.
United build an attack down the right side and the ball eventually finds Rooney, but the striker's first involvement is a stray pass straight to a blue shirt.
Ba bumps Ferdinand and rolls the United centre-back before firing a shot towards goal, but he's adjudged to have been overly physical in his tussle with the defender.
Manchester United get the match underway.
The players are making their way onto the pitch and we're just minutes away from kick-off.
The Red Devils have scored at least three goals in each of their last four meetings against Chelsea in all competitions, while 14 goals have been scored in the two meetings between the sides so far this season.
Look away Chelsea fans, the Blues have never won an FA Cup tie at Old Trafford, and the last time they scored at the theatre of dreams was all the way back in 1963.
Rafa Benitez has dropped Fernando Torres, with Demba Ba returning to lead the line in attack. Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta both come back into the side, replacing club captain John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic respectively. Juan Mata, who started on the bench for Chelsea’s Europa League defeat against Steaua Bucharest, is back in the starting XI today.
Wayne Rooney, controversially dropped from the Manchester United starting XI that faced Real Madrid on Tuesday night, returns up front with Robin van Persie moving to the bench. The 27-year-old will play behind Chicharito, who has scored in five of his last six appearances against Chelsea. Shinji Kagawa, hat-trick hero against Norwich last Saturday, also returns to the side.
Chelsea: Cech; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill, Cole; Ramires, Lampard; Mata, Oscar, Moses; Ba. Subs: Turnbull, Ivanovic, Terry, Bertrand, Mikel, Hazard, Torres.
Manchester United: De Gea; Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra; Carrick, Cleverley; Nani, Rooney, Kagawa; Chicharito. Subs: Amos, Valencia, Anderson, Vidic, Young, Welbeck, Van Persie.
Good afternoon and welcome to Goal.com’s live play-by-play text commentary of the FA Cup quarter-final clash between Manchester United and Chelsea. First up, here are today’s line-ups…
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