Monday, March 22, 2021

FA Cup Quarterfinal Results: City Strike Late at Goodison; Chelsea Blunts Blades; Leicester Eliminates Manchester United; Saints Be Praised

Manchester City left it late at Goodison Park before Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne both scored in the final ten minutes to propel Manchester City to a hard fought 2-0 victory over Everton in their FA cup match. Forced by injuries to play with third string goalkeeper Jao Virginia, the Toffees remained stout on defense, despite conceding 74% possession for the game to the Citizens, until Gundogan’s  breakthrough at the 84-minute mark. De Bruyne sealed matters with a 90th minute goal as the Citizens continued their quest for a quadruple this season. Gundogan leads all Manchester City scorers with 16 goals across all competitions after scoring in a third consecutive appearance for the Citizens. Everton lost for a seventh consecutive match in all competitions against Manchester City. The Citizens move on to face Chelsea in the semi-finals.

Chelsea extended their undefeated run under manager Thomas Tuchel to 14 matches in all competitions with a 2-0 FA Cup quarterfinal win over Sheffield United. Sheffield United conceded an early own goal with no further scoring until injury time when Hakim Ziyech scored in a second consecutive appearances for Chelsea. The Blades’ dullness in front of goal helped Chelsea to a seventh consecutive clean sheet across all competitions. Sheffield United’s David McGoldrick missed on two golden first half opportunities against a Chelsea line-up reflecting nine line-up changes from their Champions League elimination of Atletico Madrid. 

Leicester continues to ride the scoring prowess of forward Kelechi Iheanacho as the Nigerian striker found the net twice in the Foxes’ 3-1 defeat of Manchester United. Iheanacho’s FA Cup brace comes just a week after his first Premier League hat trick and the Leicester forward has struck for 13 goals in 18 FA cup appearances. Youri Tielemans also scored for Leicester as the Foxes created constant stress for a Manchester United defense which may be showing fatigue from a crowded schedule. Red Devils Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer rested several players, including full back Luke Shaw and midfielder Bruno Fernandes, before a mass second half substitution which hinted of desperation and failed to turn the match. Mason Greenwood’s first half goal was a solitary highlight for the Red Devils whose fans are likely disappointed to see their club let up with a winnable match against an underperforming Southampton team awaiting in the FA Cup’s next round. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remains without a trophy as Manchester United manager. Leicester’s win snapped a 13-match winless streak in all competitions versus United.  

Southampton will face Leicester in the semifinals after Nathan Redmond powered the Saints to a 3-0 FA Cup victory over Bournemouth with his two goals and an assist. The FA Cup has provided welcome respite for the Saints from their progressively miserable march through their Premier League season. Redmond’s two goals were as many as he had scored in his previous 34 matches for Southampton. The match’s opening goal by the Saints’ Moussa Djenepo, assisted by Redmond, was Djenepo’s first goal in 20 matches across all competitions. For the Saints, no good deed goes unpunished as they move on to face a Leicester club which administered the infamous 9-0 thrashing of the Saints in a 2019 Premier League match. Both FA Cup semifinal matches are scheduled for April 17th at London’s Wembley Stadium.


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