In a far from enthralling encounter watched by 17,671 fans Dundee United made sure there would be a Premier League club in the final, by beating Raith Rovers 2-0 at Hampden Park on Sunday. The result rarely looked in doubt after Dundee United took the lead in the 28th minute and they effectively killed off the tie with a second just before the hour when Andy Webster headed in from a corner. In the match Raith rarely threatened the United goal and only managed 3 attempts at goal in the game, none of which were on target.
Dundee United will now face Scottish 1st Division Side Ross County in the Final on the 15th May 2010.
To Portsmouth fans it must seem like an eternity ago that they lofted the FA Cup in 2008 after beating Cardiff City 1-0 at Wembley. Since there has been a near endless string of bad news which cumulated in the club being forced into administration. However today they finally have something to get excited about and a win today against Spurs would go a long way towards rewarding their loyalty.
In front of a 81,869 Wembley crowd Chelsea took another stride towards a League and Cup double as they saw off the challenge of a plucky Aston Villa 3-0, a scoreline which looks slightly more emphatic than their performance deserved.
If history is any guide then Chelsea will be playing at Wembley in May. Aston Villa have not beaten Chelsea in the FA Cup since 1960 and in their most recent league meeting at the end of March, Chelsea put seven past them to rekindle their Premier League challenge.
However this time Chelsea have some injury worries with Michael Essien, Ashley Cole, Ricardo Carvalho and Jose Bosingwa (knee) all out. Villa on the other hand will be close to full strength as Richard Dunne and James Milner are both expected to play.
So whats the likley outcome? Well I dont expect it to be 7-1 this time but the odds on offer at the bookies seem about right in making Chelsea strong favourites, and I will be expecting them to progress to what could be the second part of their 1st League and Cup Double.
In one of the biggest upsets in Scottish football history Ross County – who were a Highland League club up until 1995 beat Celtic 2-0 at Hampdedn Park to reach the Scottish Cup Final. Rated at 12-1 in the pre-match betting Ross County took the game to their illustrious opponents and anyone who watched the game will have no doubts that the better team won.
After the disappointment of seeing both Arsenal & Manchester United crash out of the Champions league, the Premier League regained a bit of pride as both Liverpool and Fulham advanced to the Europa League semi finals, setting up the prospect of an all English final.
Lyon just got the better of their French rivals Bordeaux to advance to their first Champions League semi final. Leading 3-1 from the 1st leg Lyon had to survive a few scares and went a goal down just before half time. However in the second half they looked the better team and deserved their 3-2 aggregate win.
They will now face a tough task in the semi final against Bayern Munich who advanced on away goals against Manchester United.
Who says lightening cant strike twice? After scraping past Fiorentina on away goals after a 4-4 aggregate result in the previous round Bayern Munich repeated the feat again last night coming back from 3-0 down at Old Trafford to advance to the Champions League semi final in identical fashion. Even more ironic was that once again Arron Robben popped up with what would prove to be the decisive goal, just as he did in the previous round.
In the first half Manchester United looked by far the better team as they swept into a 3-0 lead thanks to an early goal by up and coming Northern Irish midfielder Darron Gibson and two goals from defender Patrice Evra. The only blemish on what was a quite stunning early performance was the booking of Rafael Da Silva and up until the 43rd minute only an eternal optimist would have given Bayern any chance of progressing.
However in the space of 15 minutes things changed dramatically. First Ivica Olic took advantage of some sloppy defending by Michael Carrick and somehow managed to slot the ball home from an acute angle just before halftime to give Bayern some faint hope, and then in a some what controversial moment just after half time Rafael Da Silva hauled back Ribery and the referee, surrounded by protesting Bayern players decided to send him off for a second bookable offence.
Down to 10 men was bad enough but when Wayne Rooney left the pitch 5 minutes latter things looked bleak. From there is was largely wave after wave of Bayren attacks and it was no surprise when Arron Robben scored the decisive goal with a beautifully struck volley.
After the match Alex Ferguson was highly critical of the Bayern players actions, which he thinks contributed to the sending off which did change the course of the game. However given the similar conduct of his own players in many past matches he really has no real grounds to complain as haranguing the referee is now unfortunately part of the game. Bayern will now be aiming to emulate Manchester United’s 1999 achievement and win their version of the Treble; they are currently top of the Bundesliga and through to the German Cup Final.
A 6th minute goal from Wesley Sneijder (right) was enough to guide Inter Milan into the Champions League Semi Final against CSKA Moscow last night and in doing so ensured Jose Mourinho a place in Soccer history as he became the first manager to lead three different clubs to the Champions League semi-final.
Inter progressed with the minimum of effort and now Mourinho will be hoping to emulate his achievement with Porto who he led to victory in the 2004 Champions League Final although in their current form Barcelona will be formidable opponents in the Semi’s.
For two brief minutes mid way through the first half it looked like injury ravaged Arsenal may be capable of pulling off a shock, the the Lionel Messi show began and he showed why he is currently rated the Worlds best player. Messi hit a 1st half hat trick to effectively kill the game and grabbed his fourth 2 minutes from time to complete a scoreline which only slightly flattered Barcelona.
Hopes were high for Arsenal who included Theo Walcott from the start hoping his pace would unsettle Barcelona who themselves were missing their 1st choice central defenders, but the tactical decision to play the speedy Eric Abidal largely negated this threat and although they had their chances even Arsene Venger, gracious in defeat acknowledged that Barcelona are currently a better team.
Arsenal who are pretty much assured of a place in next seasons competition can now focus their attention on the Premier league, where they still have a faint chance of taking the title and Barcelona can look forward to facing Inter Milan in what should be an intriguing affair.