March 11, 2013

Chelsea fight back to hold United

Holders Chelsea inflicted more pain on Manchester United when they came from two goals down to draw 2-2 in a fluctuating FA Cup quarterfinal at Old Trafford on Sunday.

The hosts, knocked out of the Champions League by Real Madrid on Tuesday after a controversial red card for Nani, took a fifth-minute lead through Javier Hernandez and soon doubled it with a Wayne Rooney free kick.

Just when the Premier League leaders had started to smell a Wembley date and some comfort after a horrible week, Chelsea made a double substitution count and pulled one back on 59 minutes through Eden Hazard before Ramires levelled on 68.

Chelsea had a golden chance to win the game in the dying seconds but United keeper David de Gea brilliantly stuck out a foot to divert Juan Mata’s powerful effort, leaving the Londoners disappointed that they had not snatched victory.

“We deserved to win, the first half we made two mistakes, we conceded two goals but after we had some good chances in the counter-attack and in the second half we were on top of them,” Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez told a news conference.

There is no date yet for the replay as Chelsea have a Europa League last-16 second leg to play against Steaua Bucharest this week but when they do meet again it will be amid fresh tension between Benitez and United counterpart Alex Ferguson.

The Spaniard accused the Scot of failing to shake hands with him before the match.

“I was waiting at the beginning … I have education because I know a lot of people are watching so I know what you have to do,” he said.

Ferguson, who did not give a post-match news conference, did not comment on the matter.

The day’s other quarterfinal will also be replayed after Championship (second division) Millwall and Blackburn Rovers played out a 0-0 draw. Manchester City and Wigan Athletic booked their places in the semifinals on Saturday.

Agencies

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