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Manchester United 2 Chelsea 1 (agg 3-1): Javier Hernandez heaps misery on Blues

13 Apr 2011 00:19:30

Manchester United 2 Chelsea 1 (agg 3-1): Javier Hernandez heaps misery on Blues

This was all about the contrast between opposing strikers - a contrast that could not have been more pleasing for Manchester United or more painful for Chelsea. On the one side stood Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez, the scorers of two of the three goals that settled this terrific Champions League tie and two players as determined as they were deadly. On the other stood a pair of apparent misfits, selected together in the first leg, played for a half each in the second and in the end unable to salvage something from what has been a desperate season for Chelsea. A season that descended deeper into crisis with the dismissal of Ramires in the 70th minute. Easy peasy! Javier Hernandez (top) celebrates putting United in front with Wayne Rooney It amounted to Carlo Ancelotti's worst nightmare. He started with Fernando Torres and the Spaniard was predictably awful, sending on Drogba as his replacement only to see him score a superb goal. It was not enough to alter the outcome of this Champions League quarter-final but enough to embarrass his manager, humiliate the club's new ?50million signing and prove a point that could yet prove Ancelotti's downfall. What a mess it really has become at Stamford Bridge. Only Ancelotti can say why he picked Torres and whether it had anything to do with the pressure he might have been under from his billionaire employer to pick the most expensive player in British football history. Whatever the genesis of the decision, it was a bad one. Predator: Hernandez prods United into the lead at the far post from Ryan Giggs' cross Torres was as bad during that opening 45 minutes as Drogba was good after the break. Torres is now without a goal in 693 minutes of football for Chelsea. That, as Ray Wilkins pointed out from his position in the Sky television studio, was Drogba's 143rd goal in 300 Chelsea appearances. In fairness to Ancelotti, he did get the formation right this time. He reverted to the tried and tested  4-3-3 shape and it appeared to be paying off until Hernandez struck two minutes before the break. Chelsea had played marginally the better football, with Florent Malouda and Ramires causing United real trouble. Dismal: Fernando Torres (left) got to grips with John O'Shea (right) but not with the game The problem for Chelsea was the guy at the pinnacle of that three-man attack. The guy so lacking in confidence he struggled to even execute the simplest pass. The guy who was the antithesis of those marvellous men in red. They all deserve credit for another superb display but it is hard to praise anyone more than Ryan Giggs when the wonderful Welshman followed his contribution at Stamford Bridge by creating both goals here. Agony: But while Nani (left) soon got up, the pain was soon all Ramires's (right) after he was sent off While the surging run that enabled him to deliver the ball to the feet of Hernandez again defied those who expect him to be slowing down at 37, the pass that invited Park Ji-sung to score United's second in the 77th minute was probably more impressive. Less than a minute earlier, Drogba had dragged the 10 men of Chelsea back into this tie but from Giggs came a quite exquisite ball; a perfectly-weighted chip which the Korean was able to control before beating Petr Cech with a super left-footed finish. What a response. Faint hope: Didier Drogba fired home an equaliser on the night as Chelsea mounted a late comeback Others, of course, excelled. Edwin Van der Sar produced the saves when it mattered while Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic provided further security in front of him. For Ferdinand that is now 22  United appearances this season without defeat. Ahead of them Michael Carrick was a composed, confident presence, as was Park. Rooney and Hernandez are forming quite a partnership and the Mexican went desperately close to opening the scoring in the 26th minute. He met Rooney's cross with a close-range header Cech was powerless to stop but the assistant referee raised his flag. Television replays revealed that he was indeed offside, but by no more than a few inches, much to the disappointment of a vociferous United crowd. Killer blow: Park Ji-Sung's crisp finish ensured United's progress into the semi-finals There were no objections, though, when Hernandez found the net for a second time. That was a goal for United and, far more crucially, their second of the tie after Rooney scored in the first leg. Coming just before the break, it amounted to a crushing blow for Chelsea and an example of how not to defend. While it remained a beautifully executed goal and further evidence of Giggs' enduring qualities, Nicolas Anelka will certainly wince when he sees how easily he was beaten by the reverse pass John O'Shea delivered into the path of his colleague. It enabled Giggs to accelerate into the Chelsea penalty area with the ball at his feet before driving it across the six-yard box where Hernandez was waiting to score. Heading in the right direction: But Hernandez had this first-half headed goal ruled out for offside Ancelotti responded to that by withdrawing Torres for Drogba and the Ivorian wasted little time in demonstrating why he should have been picked from the start. There was a presence about him, determination, too. When he drove a shot narrowly wide, the United back four began to look a touch nervous. By replacing Anelka with Salomon Kalou, Ancelotti gave United something else to think about. But then Ramires caught Nani for the second time with a challenge that brought a second booking, a tie that he was already going to remember for that penalty appeal rejected at Stamford Bridge turned into a complete disaster. Olegario Benquerenca produced a yellow card and then his red. Game over for the Brazilian. Knees up: Hernandez and Rooney celebrate with goal-scorer Park It was not game over for Chelsea, however, Drogba controlling a ball from Michael Essien before using his pace, strength and considerable finishing ability to put his side within a goal of an unlikely victory. Until, that is, United responded immediately by scoring their second of the night and so securing a seventh Champions League semi-final for Ferguson. It means the pursuit of the Treble continues. For Chelsea, though, the future is less certain. There will be bitter recriminations after this. Drogba is sure to be furious but, more significantly for Ancelotti, so is Roman Abramovich. The Russian might have only one thing in mind for his latest manager. What he would perhaps call his own special Roman holiday.  LIVE: Manchester United v Chelsea - all the action from Old Trafford as it happenedMartin Samuel: Thanks for nothing, Fernando. Now take rest of the season offManchester United 2 Chelsea 1: How the teams rated Firing squad: Hernandez and Park send United through and leave Ancelotti's future in the balanceGRAHAM POLL: Manchester United linesman got both big calls right against ChelseaIs Sir Alex right? Are Chelsea too obsessed with the European Cup?PREMIER LEAGUE NEW KIT SPECIAL: Strips your team will wear in 2011-12All the latest Chelsea news, features and opinionAll the latest Manchester United news, features and opinion  Explore more:People: Park Ji-sung, Roman Abramovich, Fernando Torres, Nemanja Vidic, John O'Shea, Wayne Rooney, Nicolas Anelka, Edwin Van Der Sar, Carlo Ancelotti, Michael Essien, Petr Cech, Ryan Giggs, Rio Ferdinand, Nani, Michael Carrick


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