Chelsea’s Demba Ba, front, attempts to shield the ball from Manchester United’s Chris Smalling on Monday during their FA Cup semifinal at Stamford Bridgein London.
LONDON — Demba Ba sent Chelsea into the FA Cup semifinals with a 1-0 victory over Manchester United on Monday.
The quarterfinal replay was decided four minutes into the second half when Ba hooked the ball over goalkeeper David De Gea to set up a Wembley Stadium meeting with Manchester City.
There was little De Gea could do to keep out the winner.
Juan Mata lobbed a pass over the United defense and Ba raced past Rio Ferdinand and hooked a volley over De Gea while almost sideways in the air.
“It was a brilliant pass from Juan,” Ba said. “For Newcastle, I scored quite a similar goal against Man United. It reminded me of that.”
As it did United manager Alex Ferguson.
“We had the experience from Newcastle (United) a couple of years back when he scored exactly the same type of goal,” Ferguson said. “We had to be aware of that movement and we were caught napping, to be honest.”
While Chelsea also has a Europa League quarterfinal on Thursday, United can win no trophies except for the Premier League, where it holds a seemingly insurmountable 15-point lead.
United was denied an equalizer on Petr Cech’s stunning one-handed save to block Javier Hernandez’s close-range header. That save even had Hernandez congratulating the goalkeeper.
Antonio Valencia surged forward and whipped a cross that Hernandez met with a diving header. Cech tipped it away with his left hand.
Chelsea is on course for a fifth FA Cup triumph in seven seasons, but is only fourth in league play following Saturday’s loss at Southampton.
“The priority is the top four ... the race for the top four will be until the end of the season,” interim manager Rafa Benitez said. “We’re in the top four with a game in hand. We’re in a very good position, the semifinals of the FA Cup and the quarterfinals of the Europa League.”
Chelsea will play Manchester City on April 14 at Wembley, a day after Wigan takes on Millwall in the other FA Cup semifinal.
PSG president wants Beckham to stay next year
PARIS — Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi wants veteran midfielder David Beckham to stay next season, describing him as “fantastic on and off the pitch.”
The 37-year-old former England captain has made a positive start since joining PSG in January, even though most of his appearances have been as a substitute. His current contract lasts until the end of the season.
In an interview with sports daily L’Equipe on Monday, Al-Khelaifi says “he’s happy in Paris. Honestly, we want to keep him for next season,” adding that discussions should hopefully begin soon.
Al-Khelaifi adds that “signing David was one of our best decisions. As a person, a player, an ambassador, he is exceptional” and that “he has created something within the squad.”MORE IN Sports WireBetween the Chicago Blackhawks’ veteran poise and the Tampa Bay Lightning’s young stars, the... Full StoryMILAN — One down, one to go. Full StoryINDEPENDENCE, Ohio — Unable to help his teammates in the NBA Finals, injured forward Kevin Love... Full Story
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