Weekly Football Roundup: Man United Set Up Chelsea FA Cup Quarter Final, Bale Scores On Return
Though last weekend’s itinerary did not feature any league football for the English clubs, there was still plenty of action in the FA Cup Round of 16. And the most exciting outcome was drawn out of the ballot in the form of a Manchester United vs Chelsea quarter final after the duo overcame their respective opponents in the pre-quarters.
However, both the matches unfolded in rather contrasting fashions. Manchester United found themselves trailing after Danny Graham’s 17th minute opener before the Old Trafford outfit rallied back through starlet Marcus Rashford’s equaliser 10 minutes later. The Red Devils kept pushing for the winner thereafter, only to go ahead with substitute Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s 75th minute strike off fellow sub Paul Pogba’s long ball.
On the other hand, Chelsea, who fielded seven changes from their previous encounter never looked in trouble against Wolverhampton Wanderers, who had notably knocked Liverpool and Stoke City out of the competition previously. Both Pedro and Diego Costa were on the target in the second half to hand the Blues a comfortable 2-0 victory in the end.
Elsewhere, Harry Kane netted a hat trick for Tottenham Hotspur, who went past Fulham 3-0 at Craven Cottage. Manchester City were held by Huddersfield Town to a goalless draw that will force a replay at the Etihad Stadium. Premier League champions Leicester City continued their miserable run of form as they were eliminated by a 10-man Millwall, following a 90th minute Shaun Cummings strike.
Plenty of other league football was played across the continent over the weekend, nonetheless. La Liga leaders Real Madrid cruised to a 2-0 win over Espanyol as Gareth Bale marked his return after a three-month injury lay-off with an 83rd minute strike. Striker Alvaro Morata had opened the scoring earlier in the first half off an assist from Isco, who was also the supplier for the Welsh forward’s goal later.
Second-placed Barca too took home three points, but had to wait for a controversial 90th minute Lionel Messi spot-kick to seal their 2-1 win over Leganes. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner had also opened the scoring in the fourth minute before Unai Lopez pulled one back for the away side in the 71st minute. Sevilla maintained their four-point lead over Atletico Madrid as the former defeated Eibar 2-0, while the latter got past Sporting Gijon 4-1, thanks to a five-minute hat trick from Kevin Gameiro.
The Serie A witnessed no major upsets this weekend as table-toppers Juventus demolished Palermo 4-1. Second-placed AS Roma also went past Torino by the same margin while Napoli’s 3-1 win away to Chievo Verona ensured their place in the top three.
Bundesliga high-flyers Bayern Munich rescued a point against Hertha Berlin in the German capital 1-1, thanks to Robert Lewandoski’s stoppage time strike. Red Bull Leipzig cut down the gap with Carlo Ancelotti’s men to five points after their 2-1 victory at Borussia Moenchengladbach. Dortmund also stayed in the Champions League qualification zone, following a 3-0 thrashing of Wolfsburg at home.