Liverpool Beats Manchester United in F.A. Cup; Chelsea Wins

Liverpool beat Manchester United 2-1 in the fourth round of English soccer’s F.A. Cup, as Chelsea advanced and Newcastle was upset.

Dirk Kuyt’s goal in the 88th minute gave Liverpool the home win at Anfield. The Reds eliminated a Manchester team from a cup competition for the second time in four days after their Carling Cup semifinal victory over Manchester City.

“They controlled large parts of the game, but the most important thing was the result and we got there in the end,” Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard told broadcaster ITV.

Juan Mata scored with a disputed penalty kick in the second half to lift Chelsea to a 1-0 win at QPR. There were two upsets on the day as Newcastle lost 1-0 to Brighton of the second-tier Championship and Crawley Town, from fourth-tier League Two, beat Hull 1-0.

Tensions ran high leading up to matches at Liverpool and QPR, which were the first meetings of the respective teams since racial issues in games between them earlier in October.

Liverpool’s Luis Suarez sat out as he serves an eight-game ban for racially abusing United defender Patrice Evra, who was booed by Liverpool fans.

Chelsea captain John Terry also allegedly racially abused QPR’s Anton Ferdinand in a match, a charge he denies. England’s Football Association, after discussions with both clubs, said in a statement the two would forego the traditional pre-game handshake “to further defuse tensions before the match.”

Liverpool Advances

“There was a tendency from the players to focus only on the game,” Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas said on the club’s website. “Emotions were kept low and both teams set out to play football and it worked as a spectacle.”

Daniel Agger put Liverpool in front at Anfield after 21 minutes, only for Park Ji-Sung to tie the game for United 18 minutes later. Liverpool won the game with two minutes remaining as goalkeeper Pepe Reina’s downfield punt was headed into the penalty area by Andy Carroll. Kuyt raced ahead of Evra to the ball and fired a shot past David De Gea.

“I don’t know how they lost it,” United manager Alex Ferguson told ITV. “Just one breakaway, one bad break against you and you can lose the game.”

Mata’s penalty lifted Chelsea past west London rival QPR at Loftus Road. The kick came in the 62nd minute after referee Mike Dean judged Clint Hill had taken down Daniel Sturridge. QPR protested the call and television replays appeared to show Hill making slight contact with Sturridge.

Brighton, Crawley Upsets

Brighton defeated Newcastle on an own goal in the 76th minute when Will Buckley’s shot deflected off defender Mike Williamson and past goalkeeper Tim Krul. Matt Tubbs scored as Crawley, tied for second in the League Two lead, won at Hull, which is two divisions and 45 ranking places higher.

In all-Premier League matchups, Bolton beat Swansea 2-1 on a goal from Chris Eagles early in the second half, while Simeon Jackson’s 85th-minute goal lifted Norwich over West Brom by the same score.

Swindon, the other League Two team left in the competition, lost 2-0 at Leicester. Stoke defeated Derby 2-0, Birmingham won 4-0 at Sheffield United and Stevenage beat Notts County 1-0.

Blackpool and Millwall earned replays by scoring late for 1-1 ties. Kevin Phillips’s injury-time penalty gave Blackpool the draw with Sheffield Wednesday, and Darius Henderson scored with four minutes left as Millwall tied with Southampton.

The fourth round concludes tomorrow as Sunderland hosts Middlesbrough and Aston Villa is at Arsenal.

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