Carew treble fires Villa into FA Cup semi-finals

LONDON: Aston Villa staged a stunning second half fightback to reach the FA Cup semi-finals with a 4-2 win at Reading on Sunday.

Martin O'Neill's side, beaten in the League Cup final by Manchester United last weekend, looked set for an embarrassing exit at the hands of Championship opposition after Shane Long scored twice in the first half.

But three goals in 10 minutes from Ashley Young and John Carew, who ended up with a hat-trick, ensured Villa will return to Wembley in the last four.

Long - who had scored the winner in the third round victory over Liverpool - put Reading ahead in the 27th minute when he headed in Matthew Mills' flick-on.

The Royals looked on course for a famous victory when Long struck again with a fine finish from Jimmy Kebe's pass three minutes before half-time.

But Young restored Villa's belief with a close-range strike two minutes into the second half.

Villa's equaliser arrived just four minutes later when Norway striker Carew headed in Stewart Downing's cross.

Carew put Villa ahead by cleverly flicking in Stephen Warnock's cross with the outside of his boot in the 57th minute, then scored his third from the penalty spot in stoppage time.

Cash-strapped Portsmouth booked their place in the semi-finals with a 2-0 home win over Birmingham on Saturday, while Tottenham were held to a 0-0 draw at Fulham.

Holders Chelsea host Stoke in the final last eight tie later on Sunday.