Chelsea fights back to draw at United in FA Cup
LONDON (AP) — Chelsea staged a second-half comeback at Manchester United to earn 2-2 draw in the FA Cup on Sunday and force a replay to determine which team advances to a semifinal against Manchester City.
Javier Hernandez and Wayne Rooney put United ahead 2-0 after just 11 minutes, but substitute Eden Hazard began Chelsea's comeback in the 59th and Ramires equalized seven minutes later.
United manager Alex Ferguson blamed the collapse on fatigue in the wake of Tuesday's Champions League loss at home to Real Madrid. Chelsea's players, though, found the energy only three days after playing in the Europa League in Romania.
"We're lucky to still be in the cup," Ferguson said. "We just ran out of legs and Chelsea were far the better team in the second half. But I can't be critical of my side because ... the emotions and the intensity of Tuesday night took their toll on some of the players."
The semifinals will take place on April 13 and 14, with Wigan now waiting to see whether it will play Blackburn or Millwall, who drew 0-0 on Sunday and have to meet again.
In the Premier League on Sunday, third-place Tottenham missed the chance to extend its two-point lead over Chelsea after losing 3-2 at Liverpool. Newcastle moved nine points clear of the drop zone after beating Stoke 2-1.
United is running away with the Premier League title, holding a 12-point lead over neighbor City. But it was coming off a disappointing loss in the Champions League to Real Madrid on Tuesday and was looking for a quick recovery to stay on course for a cup double.
And Ferguson's team seemed set to give a perfect response when it went ahead after just five minutes against Chelsea, with Hernandez heading past stranded goalkeeper Petr Cech after Michael Carrick pinged the ball over defender Gary Cahill.
Rooney was on target six minutes later, floating a free kick over Chelsea defender David Luiz and United's Jonny Evans, leaving Cech little time to react.
Rooney's goal came at the end of a week in which Ferguson assured the player of his United future despite being dropped from the starting lineup for the Madrid game.
After losing 1-0 at Steaua Bucharest on Thursday in the first leg of the Europa League last-16 phase, Chelsea had looked to be heading out of the FA Cup.
The visiting fans at Old Trafford again turned on interim manager Rafa Benitez and vented their anger over a double substitution early in the second half.
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