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Sport

Manchester United see off Chelsea to reach semis

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-04-12

Manchester United beat Chelsea at Old Trafford on Tuesday to complete a 3-1 aggregate defeat of their Premier League rivals and book a place in the semi-finals of the Champions League.

REUTERS - Javier Hernandez's goal-poaching knack helped Manchester United inflict
more Champions League misery on Chelsea as they moved into the semi-finals with a 3-1 aggregate victory on Tuesday.

The Mexican struck before halftime and Park Ji-sung sealed a 2-1 victory on a raucous night at Old Trafford after a spirited Chelsea briefly levelled through substitute Didier Drogba after the Londoners had been reduced to 10 men.

United, who beat Chelsea on penalties in the 2008 final and had carved out a 1-0 lead from last week's first leg, absorbed plently of Chelsea pressure throughout an absorbing game in which the visitors had Ramires sent off for a second booking with 20 minutes remaining.

United, chasing a treble of Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup, will face Schalke 04 or Inter Milan in the last four with the German side holding a 5-2 advantage over the Italians before Wednesday's quarter-final second leg.

Chelsea, the last team to win at Old Trafford a year ago en route to the Premier League title, looked hungry for a repeat with Nicolas Anelka shooting just wide after a quarter of an hour and misfiring Fernando Torres shooting straight at keeper Edwin Van der Sar shortly afterwards.

It was, however, United who got the ball in the net first in the 26th minute with Hernandez's diving header from a Wayne Rooney cross only for the linesman to flag for offside even if it took some time for the jubilant home fans to realise it.

That frustration was forgotten two minutes before the break when John O'Shea sent a reverse pass to Ryan Giggs on the wing and the evergreen Welshman slid a pinpoint ball across the area where the lurking Hernandez, ruled just onside, crashed it into the roof of the net from virtually under the crossbar.

It was the poacher's 18th goal of the season for United and came at the worst possible time for Chelsea, especially as they had produced more chances in a lively opening period.

Watched by owner Roman Abramovich, whom United boss Alex Ferguson says is "obsessed" with winning the Champions League, Carlo Ancelotti was determined to inject more of a cutting edge straight after the break.

He sent on Didier Drogba for Torres, who left the field to loud jibes of "what a waste of money" as United fans revelled in the Spaniard's continued failure to score since his 50 million pound transfer in January from arch rivals Liverpool.

The move paid off when Drogba controlled the ball with his chest and unleashed a right-footed shot under Van der Sar to level on the night after 77 minutes.

Any Chelsea hope was snuffed out almost immediately, however, as Park netted less than a minute later to calm United's nerves and put the outcome of the tie beyond doubt.

Date created : 2011-04-12

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