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Chelsea beats ManU to reach FA Cup semis

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LONDON (AP) - 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 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.

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2015
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

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