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The FA Cup's Giant Killer

For the first time in a dozen years, England's Big Four will not feature in the FA Cup semifinals. Portsmouth opened another memorable weekend in the competition by shocking Manchester United, 1-0, at Old Trafford. That victory was later eclipsed by Barnsley's improbable 1-0 win at home to Chelsea. It was the team's second consecutive victory against an EPL side. Barnsley had beaten Liverpool, 2-1, at Anfield the round before. Portsmouth is now the only EPL team left in the competition. The other three -- Barnsley, Cardiff and West Bromwich Albion -- come from the English League Championship.

The irony, of course, is that Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea could all still win the Champions League. Three of the four have already qualified for the quarterfinals, while Liverpool is favored to join them, going into Tuesday's clash with a 2-0 lead in their second-round series. "The suspicion has to be that they merely think they have a right to the domestic cup, or do not truly give a damn," says Rob Hughes of the International Herald Tribune.
 
However, before the Barnsley match, Chelsea captain John Terry said his team could not afford to be complacent, especially following the Liverpool result. "I watched Barnsley's game against Liverpool," Terry said, "and couldn't believe the result." He added: "And I enjoyed it -- I think the whole country did because that's what the FA Cup is all about ... It's teams like Barnsley who keep the dream alive." Indeed. Now the only thing standing between Barnsley and the FA Cup final is fellow Championship side Cardiff City.

Read the whole story at International Herald Tribune »

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