Fri, Mar 24, 2006 - Page 22 News List

Blues on course for league-cup double

SOCCER John Terry kept Chelsea's bid for a league and Cup double on track with the only goal in a win over Newcastle in their FA Cup quarter-final match

AP , LONDON

Newcastle United's Irish defender Stephen Carr heads the ball above Chelsea's English forward Joe Cole during their FA Cup quarter-final soccer match on Wednesday at Stamford Bridge in London. Chelsea won 1-0.

PHOTO: AFP

John Terry's fourth-minute strike put Chelsea into the FA Cup semifinals, earning a 1-0 victory over Newcastle on Wednesday to keep the Blues on course for their first league-cup double.

The England centerback's goal at Stamford Bridge sent the Blues into the final four along with Liverpool and West Ham.

Liverpool reached the semifinals by beating Birmingham City 7-0 on Tuesday and West Ham made it by winning 2-1 at Manchester City on Monday. The other quarterfinal was to be played yesterday between Charlton and Middlesbrough.

With a 12-point lead, Chelsea is in position to win its second straight league title and is chasing its first FA Cup crown since 2000. By contrast, Newcastle, which is 12th in the 20-club Premier League, has not won a domestic trophy since the 1955 FA Cup and Wednesday's game may have been the final cup game for striker Alan Shearer, who has played 10 years for the Magpies without winning a title.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho made seven changes in his team that was upset 1-0 by struggling Fulham in the Premier League on Sunday.

Newcastle knocked out Chelsea from the competition last season thanks to a fourth-minute Patrick Kluivert goal. After not having conceded a goal in its first three FA Cup games this season, the Magpies fell behind early at Stamford Bridge.

Damien Duff fired in a low corner from the left and Terry got to the ball at the near post before Shearer to score with a first-time, left-footed half volley. The ball struck the boot of Newcastle's Peruvian midfielder Nolberto Solano on the way past goalkeeper Shay Given but was on target anyway.

Newcastle almost equalized in the 17th minute when Chelsea goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini could only parry a powerful left-footed shot from Lee Bowyer. With Shearer about to force home the rebound, Terry recovered to make a perfectly timed tackle in front of an empty net.

Ricardo Carvalho had a great chance to double the lead two minutes before halftime when he connected with a leftwing free kick from Frank Lampard, but volleyed wide of the near post from five meters.

Given thwarted chances by Didier Drogba three times in the second half as Chelsea continued to dominate, and Blues substitute Shaun Wright-Phillips blazed a shot high and wide with just the keeper to beat with five minutes to go.

Newcastle defender Robbie Elliott was sent off with a minute to go for a second yellow card although the second caution for an apparent obstruction of Wright-Phillips appeared a harsh decision.

Goals by Stephen McManus and Shaun Maloney on Wednesday gave Celtic a 2-1 victory over Inverness and moved Gordon Strachan's team 17 points clear in the Scottish title race.

After Polish striker Maciej Zurawski and Japanese midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura both narrowly missed chances, Celtic went ahead in the 36th minute.

Centerback McManus jumped to meet a corner from Nakamura and, although Inverness goalkeeper Mark Brown got his fingertips to his looping header from nine meters he could not stop it going in.

Maloney added the second by converting a free kick with 11 minutes to go. Although Richard Hart replied for Inverness in the 90th, Strachan's team moved even further ahead of second place Hearts, which fired manager Graham Rix on Wednesday citing poor recent results.

When Rix took over from George Burley in November, the Jambos were top of the standings.

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