Thu, Mar 16, 2006 - Page 20 News List

City rises above Villa in English FA Cup


Manchester City's Darius Vassell, center, has a shot blocked by Aston Villa's Olof Melberg during their FA Cup match in Manchester, England, on Tuesday.


Darius Vassell knocked former club Aston Villa out of the FA Cup on Tuesday, scoring to lead Manchester City to a 2-1 victory in a fifth-round replay and into the quarterfinals.

After Greek striker Georgios Samaras put City ahead, Vassell, who left Villa at the start of the season, made it 2-0 four minutes into the second half. Steven Davis replied for Villa with five minutes remaining but City prevailed and will face either West Ham or Bolton for a place in the semifinals. They replay at Upton Park today.

In the other quarterfinals, to be played during the week of March 20, Chelsea hosts Newcastle, Birmingham welcomes Liverpool and Middlesbrough goes to Charlton.

City, which announced earlier Tuesday that manager Stuart Pearce had signed a new two-year contract, went ahead in the 17th minute.

Samaras beat Olof Mellberg in a run down the left and, although his first shot was blocked by goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen, the ball rolled back to the Greek forward who prodded it into an empty net.

After Villa lost Czech striker Milan Baros with an injury to his right knee, Sinclair broke in on Sorensen alone and had a chance for a second seven minutes before halftime, but the Danish keeper blocked the shot with his leg.

Vassell scored the when he deflected home a 10-meter shot from Albert Riera. Minutes later, Antoine Sibierski almost added a third but his header struck the post.

Davis gave City some anxious moments by scoring five minutes from the end with a close-range shot after being set up by Luke Moore.

AS Roma's winning streak of 11 games is history and Luciano Spalletti's team can't afford a third loss in a row when it faces Middlesbrough for a place in the UEFA Cup quarterfinals.

Beaten 1-0 at Middlesbrough on Thursday, Roma lost 3-2 at Ascoli on Sunday to end a run of 13 games unbeaten in Serie A. Spalletti has to make sure his players rebound with a victory at home today.

With playmaker and captain Francesco Totti out until May after surgery to repair serious leg and ankle injuries, Roma has hit problems.

Italy striker Vincenzo Montella has a back injury and another forward, Shabani Nonda, is out for the rest of the season with a knee problem. Goalkeeper Alexander Doni is also missing and backup Gianluca Curci hurt his right shoulder while warming up for the Ascoli match.

Even though Rome has to overturn a first-leg deficit, Serie A has a chance to get three clubs into the last eight.

Palermo goes to Germany's Schalke with a 1-0 lead and Udinese is at Levski Sofia with the teams tied at 0-0. The two Italian teams played each other on Sunday and Palermo won 2-0.

Schalke's first-leg loss at Palermo was its first defeat of 2006 and it came back with a 2-0 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt.

Like Italy, France hopes to get three teams into the quarterfinals.

Lille goes to Sevilla holding a 1-0 advantage, Strasbourg hosts Basel but is 2-0 behind and Marseille goes to Russia already 1-0 down to Zenit St. Petersburg and without experienced goalkeeper Fabien Barthez, who has a calf muscle injury.

Marseille coach Jean Fernandez and his assistant, Albert Emon, will watch the second leg from the stands after being suspended from the touchline after contesting decisions made by the first-leg referee. The pair will not be allowed to make any contact with the team during the game.

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