Chelsea beat Man Utd, enter League Cup final
Manchester, January 27:
Chelsea’s bid to win an unprecedented four titles in a season stayed on course as Jose Mourinho’s Blues beat Manchester United 2-1 to set up a League Cup final showdown with Liverpool.
After Ryan Giggs had cancelled out Frank Lampard’s first half strike for the Blues, Damien Duff curled in a crossfield free kick five minutes from the end at Old Trafford to give Chelsea a 2-1 aggregate triumph after a 0-0 tie in the first leg at Stamford Bridge.
While it was more glory for Chelsea, which has a 10 point lead at the top of the Premier League and is going strong in the Champions League and FA Cup, the result ended Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson’s proud record of 19 games unbeaten in domestic cup semi-finals.
Chelsea will meet record seven-time winner Liverpool in the February 27 final at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.
The only chance of the first 45 minutes was taken as Chelsea went ahead. Lampard started and finished the move with a through ball to Arjen Robben who found Didier Drogba on the left. The big Ivory Coast striker cut inside and pulled the ball back to the unmarked Lampard who steadied himself before stroking the ball inside the far post.
The Reds levelled in the 67th minute with a wonder goal by Giggs. The move started deep in the United own half and Giggs ran on to meet Gary Neville’s long through ball, reaching it at shoulder height with his left foot to lob the ball over the advancing goalkeeper Cech into an empty net.
The equaliser was a reward for United’s strong fightback but the Reds fans were silenced again with five minutes to go when Chelsea regained the lead. There seemed little danger when Duff floated in a free kick from the right but the ball curled past everyone and ’keeper Howard was horrified to see it bend, bounce and fly into the top corner.
Copa del Rey:
MADRID: Jesus Navas scored an 82nd-minute winner to give Sevilla a 2-1 home victory over Osasuna in the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarter-finals.
Antonito Ramiro also scored in the 23rd minute for Sevilla, which takes a slender advantage into next week’s second leg at Osasuna’s El Sadar stadium. Australian forward John Aloisi converted a 38th-minute penalty for Osasuna.
The other quarter-final game between Numancia and Atletico Madrid was postponed because of a frozen field. It will be played on February 2.