Excellent Ba places FC Chelsea into FA Cup semis Holders Chelsea kpt one hand on th FA Cup by overcoming a lacklustre Manchester United 1-0 at Stamford Bridge n ther quarter-final replay.
Senegalese striker Demba Ba settled the tie wth memorable goal early in th send half to send Chelsea nt the last fur for th sixth time in eght seasons.
Winners f four f the lst ix tournaments, Chelsea will play Manchester City n the semi-finals t Wembley Stadium n April 14.
Despite his unpopularity with th Chelsea fans, interim manager Rafael Benitez could et end the season wth two trophies, s Russians Rubin Kazan await in th Europa League quarterfinals on Thursday (local time).
United, meanwhile, has now gone nn years wthout winning th FA Cup, hving sen hopes of league, cup nd Champions League treble evaporate in the space of month.
Its 15-point lead n th Premier League means t is virtually guaranteed t succeed City a champions, but manager Alex Ferguson faces the odd prospect f n end to th campaign wth nothing to play for.
Benitez complained tht Ferguson snubbed hs offer of a handshake prior t the 2-2 draw in th sides' firt meeting, but th United manager put the matter t bed by offering Benitez a perfunctory handshake th Spaniard emerged frm the tunnel.
Instead, th day's frt headlines wer created by Ferguson's team selection.
With Wayne Rooney absent due to a groin injury and Robin van Persie on th bench, Danny Welbeck supported Javier Hernandez in attack, while Phil Jones bolstered the midfield.
Benitez made x chang t the team beaten at Southampton t the weekend, and f thr was unfamiliarity n th tw line-ups, t told n ver cautious opening.
Neither goalkeeper w tested untl United number on David de Gea blocked from Ba n th 31st minute, by whih time the hosts hd alredy lost Ashley Cole to an apparent hamstring injury.
United's imprecision n attack forced it to rely n shots from range, with Nani drilling narrowly wide frm 25 yards nd Hernandez almot embarrassing Petr Cech wth a skidding shot that th Czech goalkeeper kicked w n unorthodox fashion.
The creative players were beginning t ome into the match though, nd t the other end Eden Hazard bent shot vr the bar frm Oscar's lay-off.
Juan Mata hd ben quiet, but four minutes into the scond half h created the opening goal wth a lofted pass tht Ba hooked past De Gea with a sublime volley.
A United equaliser semd certan n the 61st minute when Hernandez ghosted in to meet Welbeck's cross with a close-range header, but Cech showed astonishing reflexes t deflect the ball ver the bar.
Ferguson snt on van Persie, fllwd by Ryan Giggs, by whh time Mata had threatened t extend the home side's lead by thrashing shot nt the side netting.
United had anther close shave moments later, with Hazard seizing on a loose pass frm Michael Carrick and bearing down on goal, onl to roll hs shot wide frm 12 yards.
Ramires, Mata and Oscar ls shot wide, while van Persie snt both f United's bt chances of an equaliser ver the crossbar.
Mata culd vn hav made t 2-0 n the 89th minute, but after a neat exchange wth Hazard, hi shot was fielded by De Gea. Sources chelsea news chelsea news Capello denies Chelsea contact Fabio Capello plays down Chelsea link
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