Monday, July 23, 2018

Champions League: Manchester United 2 Chelsea 1

Manchester United reached the Champions League semi-finals and kept their treble dream alive as they beat 10-man Chelsea 2-1 on Tuesday.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s men progressed 3-1 on aggregate thanks to goals from Javier Hernandez and Ji-Sung Park in an irrepressible display at Old Trafford.

It was a terrible night for Chelsea, who scored through substitute Didier Drogba, but had Ramires sent off and saw their Champions league dream ended yet again.

United beat Chelsea in the final in Moscow in 2008 and this result was another famous victory for Ferguson?s side who are also top of the English Premier League and through to the semi-finals of the FA Cup.

In this tie they should have gone ahead after 26 minutes when Rooney?s excellent cross was turned home by Hernandez, only for the goal to be harshly ruled offside.

But they grabbed the all-important goal two minutes before half-time to take a 2-0 advantage in the tie.

It was a clever touch from Irishman John O?Shea that set Ryan Giggs free on the right side, and the veteran midfielder danced into the area before crossing low for the predatory Hernandez to stretch and slide home at the far post.

It was just desserts for United, who showed real energy and desire to get at the Chelsea defence with Rooney, Hernandez, Park and Nani all showing pace, energy and zip.

Chelsea, though, had started the stronger, surprising their hosts with a new ?christmas tree? formation that featured Fernando Torres up front on his own and Nicolas Anelka in a deep-lying creative role.

Anelka had the first real chance of the game, curling an effort just wide, and also went close with another shot from 20 yards. But the best opportunity fell to Frank Lampard early on when he side footed straight to van der Sar when well placed.

Chelsea lived to rue that miss as United took the advantage and by half-time Ancelotti had seen enough ? ruthlessly substituting Torres for Drogba at half-time.

The Ivorian quickly made a difference, seeing one shot fly narrowly wide and a free-kick saved by van der Sar. But Chelsea?s night was effectively over when Ramires, already booked in the first half, lost balance as he clattered into Nani and was sent off.

The decision was perhaps harsh but in many ways it had been coming – Chelsea thundering into a series of tough challenges that left the Old Trafford crowd irate. They simply couldn?t cope with the pace and trickery of Nani, Rooney and Hernandez.

Drogba did equalise after 76 minutes, turning superbly on a long pass from Michael Essien. But United replied within 60 seconds when Park drilled home a left-foot strike to clinch United a place in the last four and leave Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti under intense pressure.


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