City reach first FA Cup final in 30 years

BY foxsports • April 16, 2011

Manchester City ended Manchester United's chances of three trophies in the same season when it beat its local rival 1-0 at Wembley to reach its first FA Cup final for 30 years.

While Chelsea kept alive its faint hopes of retaining the Premier League title with a 3-1 win at West Bromwich Albion, City midfielder Yaya Toure scored a 52nd-minute winner to leave United with the domestic championship and Champions League to aim for.

City, which is fourth in the Premier League and on course to qualify for next year's Champions League, plays either Stoke or Bolton in the May 14 final - when it aims to break a 35-year streak without a trophy.

"We've done nothing yet," City goalkeeper Joe Hart said. "We've got ourselves into a good position in the league and we've put ourselves in the final. Nothing's been won yet."

Toure scored after intercepting a poor clearance by United midfielder Michael Carrick and United ended with 10 men after Paul Scholes' 72nd-minute red card for a dangerous lunge on Pablo Zabaleta.

City had been overrun for most of the first half and Dimitar Berbatov should have put United ahead, but had one shot blocked by Hart and put another over the bar from close range in front of an unguarded net.

Backed by an investment of about $1 billion by owner Sheikh Mansour since 2008, City now has a shot at a first trophy since the 1976 League Cup. It reached the 1981 FA Cup final, but lost a replay to Tottenham.

"The boys are over the moon, the club are over the moon," Hart said.

United was without the suspended Wayne Rooney and left Javier Hernandez, who scored in Tuesday's Champions League victory over Chelsea, on the bench. Considering Berbatov's wayward finishing, the selection may have been an error.

But with six games left, United is still seven points clear of Arsenal in the chase for the Premier League title and faces Schalke in a two-leg Champions League semifinal starting later this month.

Chelsea recovered from 1-0 down at the Hawthorns, with goals by Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou and Frank Lampard moving the defending champions to within eight points of United. Arsenal hosts Liverpool in Sunday's match.

Everton continued its late-season rally with a 2-0 win over Blackburn, while Birmingham eased its relegation worries with a 2-0 win over Sunderland and Aston Villa did likewise with a 2-1 win at West Ham.

The Hammers had led through Robbie Keane's second-minute goal but dropped to 19th place as Wigan moved off the bottom of the standings with a 3-1 win at Blackpool that pushed its opponent into the three-team relegation zone.

After elimination from the Champions League on Tuesday, Chelsea's week got even worse in the 17th minute at West Brom. Peter Odemwingie raced clear and lifted the ball over goalkeeper Petr Cech for his 12th league goal of the season.

But Chelsea trailed for only five minutes as the 33-year-old Drogba - selected ahead of the out-of-form Fernando Torres as the focal point of Chelsea's attack - equalized with his 11th Premier League goal of the season.

Drogba tapped in after fullback Nicky Shorey cleared a cross straight to the Ivory Coast striker.

Chelsea led 2-0 in the 26th after goalkeeper Scott Carson failed to push away Drogba's long-range shot and Kalou scored with an angled shot from the rebound.

Chelsea's third goal, in the last minute of the first half, was its best.

From a deep position, Drogba released Florent Malouda down the left wing and the France international pulled the ball back to Lampard. The England midfielder, who had already had a 30-meter (shot) tipped over the bar, had time to place his shot past Carson.

With games against Birmingham and West Ham next, Chelsea has the chance to keep up the pressure on the two sides above it and hope they slip up. Otherwise, its only aim for the rest of the season is to clinch qualification for the Champions League.

Everton is too far behind to make the top four, but stretched its unbeaten streak to seven league matches through goals by Leon Osman and Leighton Baines.

Osman's deflected shot in the 54th broke the deadlock at Goodison Park before Baines converted a penalty in the 75th after Phil Jones had fouled Seamus Coleman.

Seventh-place Everton is just one point behind local rival Liverpool, which aims to win at Emirates Stadium for the first time on Sunday.

Hugo Rodallega, Charles N'Zogbia and an own goal by Craig Cathcart lifted Wigan off the bottom of the standings and out of the relegation zone to 17th place. Blackpool replaced its opponent in the drop zone, above only West Ham and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The Hammers looked set to take a valuable point from its meeting with Aston Villa after Darren Bent had equalized Keane's early goal, but Gabriel Agbonlahor struck in the last minute to give Villa a 2-1 win and lift his side all the way up to ninth place.

Cardiff retook second place in the second-tier League Championship with a 3-0 win over Portsmouth, while Reading kept up its unlikely charge for possible automatic promotion with a 3-1 win over playoff hopeful Leicester.

Leader Queen's Park Rangers won 1-0 at Barnsley on Tuesday and next plays Monday, when Derby visits Loftus Road.

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