Manchester United 2-2 Chelsea: United lucky to escape with a draw
Manchester United and Chelsea were headed in the quarter final of the FA Cup which was held at Old Trafford. United were all set for action after suffering the controversial midweek defeat to Real Madrid, which resulted in their exit from the Champions League. The line-ups were again rather unexpected from both the managers, as Sir Alex left out Vidic and Van Persie from the starting XI, whereas Rafa Benitez did the same to Hazard and Torres. United started the match with extreme positivity as Michael Carrick delivered a sublime ball from midfield straight to Javier Hernandez, who glided the ball extremely gently over Petr Cech to hand United the lead in the 5th minute itself.
The lead soon got doubled in the 11th minute thanks to Wayne Rooney, who scored from a free kick from way outside the box. None of the Chelsea players cleared the ball and it landed with a bounce into the goal. United were cruising at this point. They could have added one more to their tally, but Petr Cech made a great double save just minutes later, with the first being a shot from Wayne Rooney from close range, and the successive rebound from David Luiz, who almost headed the ball into his own goal. Chelsea made some attacks thereafter, with Lampard and Victor Moses having decent chances just before half time. Nani had to leave the match early, again, as he got injured in the 45th minute and this incident again proved to be the changing point in the match.
Chelsea came out all guns blazing in the second half. The introduction of Eden Hazard had a huge impact on the game, as the Belgian attacker hit a beautiful curling shot right in the corner of the goal, giving De Gea absolutely no chance, to make it an exciting match for the remaining half an hour. Chelsea were back on level terms in the 67th with Ramires scoring past the outstretched hands of the United goalkeeper. Chelsea were looking set for victory after their repeated attacks on the United defence, and the United team were hanging by the skin of their match. Mata, had a huge chance to put the match to bed in the dying minutes of the match, after he was scooped a delightful little ball in the box and he had skipped past Ferdinand and only had the goalkeeper to beat, but De Gea made himself as big as possible and denied the Spaniard a goal from close range and Chelsea a place in the semi final of the FA Cup.
Manchester United must have been relieved after hearing the final whistle and will have to show much greater intensity in the return fixture at Stamford Bridge if they want to hope for the semi final berth against Manchester City.