Leicester dominated (3-1) lackluster Manchester United on Sunday to enter the last four of the FA Cup, which will also feature Chelsea, who dominated Sheffield United (2-0).
The Foxes, who had not reached this stage of the competition since 1982, were carried by their forward Kelechi Iheanacho, who has been in great shape for a few weeks and still scoring a brace. At the Red Devils, with Paul Pogba holder, but without Bruno Fernandes, Luke Shaw or Scott McTominay at kickoff, the fatigue linked to the accumulation of matches seemed to weigh, after qualifying for the quarterfinals of the Europa League torn off at AC Milan (1-0) on Thursday.
The Nigerian thus first benefited from a far too soft back pass from Fred to Dean Henderson to dribble past the goalkeeper and score in the empty goal (1-0, 24 ‘), He also closed the mark with a header at the far post, after a free kick from Marc Albrighton (3-1, 78 ‘), scoring his 7th goal in his last 4 matches.
Iheanacho is an expert on the FA Cup, having scored 14 goals in 18 appearances in the competition. In the meantime, the red defense had again seemed quite apathetic on a rise from Yuri Tielemans ended with a cross strike from the Belgian who had given the advantage to his team (2-1, 52 ’). Offensively, with an Anthony Martial still not convincing in the axial position, Man United lacked sharpness.
Mason Greenwood equalized well after a grievous Pogba on the wing and a back cross, which he recovered victoriously (1-1, 38 ’). But now the Red Devils will have to settle for trying to keep their place as runner-up to City in the league, and C3 to fuel their dreams of another trophy.
In the semi-finals on April 17 at Wembley, Leicester face Southampton, who qualified on Saturday, beating Championship club Bournemouth (D2) (3-0). The other half will see City, who beat Everton (2-0) in wear and tear on Saturday as well, take on Chelsea, who got the better of Premier League red lantern Sheffield United (2-0).
Heavily changed from their Champions League qualification on Wednesday, the Blues still maintained their clean sheet for the 12th time in 14 appearances since Thomas Tuchel’s arrival and for the 7th time in a row.
The nine changes from Wednesday’s kick-off weighed on the offensive momentum, against the Blades already on the edge of relegation. Chelsea needed the unwitting help of Oliver Norwood, who deflected a tense Ben Chilwell cross in goal, to open the scoring (1-0, 24 ’). In added time, Hakim Ziyech, who came on the scene shortly before, doubled the lead at the conclusion of a fine block (2-0, 90 ’+ 1). Sheffield had chances, including an overly crossed header from David McGoldrick (67 ’), and a Rhian Brewster strike low to the post (90’) that left starter Kepa unresponsive.
But Londoners will have a good card to play against the very likely future champion on April 17, ahead of the final, also at Wembley on May 15.