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Everton and Chelsea advance to FA Cup final
by Paul Kennedy, April 20th, 2009 7:01AM



[ENGLAND] Everton and Chelsea will meet in the English FA Cup final May 30 after winning their semifinal matches at Wembley Stadium. Everton's shootout victory -- courtesy of two saves by American keeper Tim Howard -- ended Manchester United's bid for five titles this season. Chelsea came from behind to down London rival Arsenal, 2-1.

Following Chelsea's comeback win on Saturday thanks to goals by Florent Malouda and Didier Drogba, Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson said he decided to take Paul Scholes, Dimitar Berbatov and Patrice Evra out of what was already a weakened starting lineup because of the poor state of the Wembley field. Stars Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Giggs did not play.

Neither team could score in regulation and overtime. In the game's most controversial decision, referee Mike Riley did not award a penalty when Everton's Phil Jagielka knocked over Danny Welbeck in the box.

"When Riley sees it," said Ferguson, "he'll probably realize he's made a mistake but I can't say that's the reason for us losing."

The loss to Chelsea was costly for Arsenal as Dutchman Robin van Persie, who has played so well in recent weeks, aggravated a groin injury.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger remained high on his young Gunners.

"The season is not petering out," he said. "We are in the last four in Europe, we have just played in the semifinal of the FA Cup and we still have to get as close as possible in the Premier League. We dropped out of things last season but I believe we have shown we are mentally strong in adversity this season."

Arsenal has another crack at Chelsea in the Champions League if they both win their semifinal series.

"I would love to play Chelsea again," said Wenger. "We could take our revenge because I believe we are maturing well.

FA Cup Results:
April 18 in London
Chelsea 2 Arsenal 1. Goals: Malouda 33, Drogba 84; Walcott 18.
Arsenal -- Fabianski, Eboue, Toure, Silvestre, Gibbs, Walcott, Fabregas, Diaby, Denilson (Nasri, 86), Van Persie (Arshavin, 75), Adebayor (Bendtner, 83)
Chelsea -- Cech, Ivanovic, Alex, Terry, Ashley Cole, Ballack, Lampard, Essien, Malouda, Anelka (Kalou, 82), Drogba
Referee: Martin Atkinson.
Att.: 88,103.

April 19 in London
Everton 0 Man. United 0 (Everton wins 4-2 on penalties.)
Everton -- Howard, Hibbert, Jagielka, Lescott, Baines, Osman, Fellaini (Vaughan, 102), Neville, Pienaar, Cahill, Saha (Rodwell, 70).
Manchester United -- Foster, R. Da Silva, Ferdinand, Vidic, F. Da Silva (Evra, 64), Park (Scholes, 67), Gibson, Anderson, Welbeck, Tevez, Macheda (Berbatov, 91).
Referee: Mike Riley.
Att.: 88,141.



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