BY DAN KARELL
Chelsea may be out of the English Premier League title race, but they took a step closer to some silverware on Monday after halting Manchester United’s quest for a double.
January signing Demba Ba scored Chelsea’s only goal in a 1-0 victory over the Red Devils in FA Cup quarterfinal action in Stamford Bridge on Monday.
Ba broke through in the 49th minute, putting the ball into the far side netting from a Juan Mata chip over Ba’s shoulder. Manchester United brought on Robin Van Persie in the 61st minute to find a goal, and seconds later, Chelsea’s Petr Cech made a stunning save on a header from Javier Hernandez, to preserve the clean sheet.
The loss means that Sir Alex Ferguson will be denied a chance to win the most famous trophy in England for the sixth year in a row. The victory moves Chelsea into an FA Cup semifinal meeting with Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on April 14th.
Here are some more stories to get your Monday going:
SUNDERLAND HIRES DICANIO
Former Lazio, Celtic, and West Ham forward Paolo Di Canio has been appointed as the new head coach of Sunderland, taking over from the sacked Martin O’Neill on Sunday.
The 44-year-old Italian manager does not have English Premier League managerial experience, but Sunderland will be hoping he can help the Black Cats stay out of the relegation zone. Sunderland is currently just one point out of relegation danger.
DiCanio most recently managed Swindon, which he helped gain promotion from League Two to League One, and now the club has a chance for a second consecutive promotion this season.
MESSI BREAKS ANOTHER SCORING RECORD
Lionel Messi completed yet another accomplishment on Saturday, scoring in his 19th consecutive La Liga match, setting a new record in production. The 25-year-old scored the second of the match for Barcelona, who could only settle for a 2-2 draw.
“What Leo is doing is an unheard of feat in the league’s history and it shows the importance he has and his greatness as a player,” Barcelona assistant Jordi Roura said to The Guardian.
Messi has now scored against every team in La Liga this season, another new record, with nine more matches to go. The Argentine has scored 29 goals in those 19 matches, and overall this season he has put up video game numbers; 43 goals and 11 assists in 29 league matches.
MANCINI FRUSTRATED WITH NASRI INCONSISTENCY DESPITE WIN
Though his side were 4-0 winners on Saturday, Roberto Mancini was focused after the match on the fact that his Manchester City side were unable to replicate the form on display at the Etihad Stadium throughout the season.
Mancini singled out Samir Nasri, saying that he’d “like to give him a punch” due to his inconsistent form. The Sky Blues boss also called out Nasri for under-performing all season, saying that a player of his quality should be able to play well throughout the season, and not just on certain match days.
Nasri, who picked up an assist in 70 minutes of action before being substituted in Saturday’s match, has played 21 Premier League games this season, scoring just one goal. Last season, the Frenchman had five goals and nine assists in 30 Premier League matches.
Marseille winger Andre Ayew was racially abused during the club’s match on Sunday against nearby rivals Nice. (REPORT)
Hamburger SV chief Carl Jarchow said there will be consequences, after his side tied the record for heaviest loss in the Bundesliga on Saturday, losing 9-2 to Bayern Munich. (REPORT)
Six people were injured during clashes between rival supporters, who were arriving at the Arena Fonte Nova in Bahia to queue for World Cup tickets. (REPORT)
Rangers have won the Scotland Third Division, or the fourth tier of soccer in Scotland, earning promotion. (REPORT)
What do you think of these reports? Do you believe Chelsea can win the FA Cup? Do you see Messi continuing the goal-scoring streak? Do you agree with Mancini’s comments on Nasri?
Share your thoughts below.