Chelsea FC overcame Manchester United FC in their FA Cup sixth-round replay courtesy of an outstanding Demba Ba volley to progress to a semi-final date with Manchester City FC.
The holders, who have lifted the trophy four times in the last six years, appeared certain to lose their crown in the original tie on 10 March, but came from two down to earn a draw and a second chance against the Premier League leaders which they grabbed with both hands.
In a first half that was slow to ignite after both sides completed league fixtures on Saturday, United's David de Gea was the first keeper called into action, saving with his feet from Ba. Petr Čech was forced to do the same when Nani's swerving effort from range almost wrong-footed the west Londoners' No1.
Eden Hazard curled over for the hosts just before the break, but the crowd were on their feet shortly after the restart when Juan Mata's dinked ball over the top of the defence was delightfully volleyed into the top corner by the athletic Ba.
Čech produced a remarkable instinctive save to repel Javier Hernández's point-blank header, and Rafael Benítez’s men held on to seal their last-four date with City on 14 April.
Meanwhile, Queens Park Rangers FCs short trip to west London rivals Fulham FC resulted in a second successive 3-2 defeat in the Premier League. Adel Taraabt's low strike on the cusp of half-time had given QPR hope after Dimitar Berbatov's spot kick and neat finish and a Clint Hill own goal had left things looking bleak.
After seeing his penalty saved shortly after the break, Loïc Rémy soon made amends with a goal, but QPR could not equalise – despite a Steve Sidwell dismissal. Harry Redknapp's side are 19th, seven points adrift of safety with seven games remaining.
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