Didier Drogba's 26th goal of the season helped Chelsea ease into the last eight of the FA Cup on Saturday as Arsenal and Manchester United were both forced into unwanted replays.
Arsenal were unable to find a way past Blackburn goalkeeper Brad Friedel in a goalless draw at the Emirates Stadium while the Red Devils were left red-faced after a 1-1 draw with a second-string Reading side.
Chelsea, who are still in the hunt for four trophies this season, were joined in the quarter-finals by Watford, who snatched a late winner at home to Ipswich, and Plymouth, who reached the last eight for the first time since 1984.
Plymouth clinched a 2-0 win over Championship pacesetters Derby at Home Park.
West Brom twice came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw at Middlesbrough.
Icelandic midfielder Brynjar Gunnarsson was Reading's hero at Old Trafford, heading in a second-half equalizer after Michael Carrick had fired United ahead with a low 25m shot with virtually the last kick of the first half.
United squandered a string of chances to kill off what was virtually a reserve Reading side.
Norwich lived up to their pre-match pledge to have a go at Chelsa with a lively start in which Dickson Etuhu struck the post and Lee Croft's follow-up was cleared off the line by Khalid Boulahrouz.
But the Canaries were deflated six minutes before the break when a shot from Shaun Wright-Phillips was deflected past substitute goalkeeper Paul Gallagher.
Drogba's close-range volley made the outcome safe six minutes after the break and strikes by Michael Essien and Andriy Shevchenko put a flattering gloss on the scoreline.
The win was marred by a recurrence of the injury jinx that has been haunting Chelsea all season with Boulahrouz forced off with a dislocated shoulder having only just returned to action following a knee ligament injury.
Friedel earned Blackburn a replay by producing a string of top-quality saves, capped by a superb double stop in the dying seconds which saw him fling himself to his right to tip away Thierry Henry's close-range shot before scrambling to his left to block Justin Hoyte's fierce low drive.
The former Liverpool star, who had let in six goals on his last visit to Arsenal, insisted the plaudits should be shared by his back four.
"We are far more attacking usually, but after a few of our recent performances we had to tighten up at the back and we've done that," Friedel said.
The result prompted Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger to call for the abolition of FA Cup replays as he contemplated a run of seven matches in four weeks, including two legs of their Champions League tie with PSV Eindhoven and the League Cup final against Chelsea.
Taiwan national team manager Henry Vom on Sunday had a successful debut in charge of Taichung Futuro, winning 3-2 against league leaders Taipower with a goal deep in stoppage-time, which combined with the results from the other matches saw the gaps close at the top of the Taiwan Football Premier League table. Besides the big win for Futuro, Hang Yuan edged Taitung 1-0, Taiwan Steel dominated National Taiwan University of Sport 4-1 and the Red Lions held Ming Chuan University to a 1-1 draw. Vom took over Futuro after previous coach Toshiaki Imai returned home to Japan. Imai, who also managed the national
The NBA said was re-evaluating its training program in China following allegations of abuse of young players by local staff and harassment of foreign staffers at a facility in Xinjiang. The comments come after a report by ESPN that quoted unnamed American coaches as saying that Chinese coaches hit young players. One American coach who worked at a camp in Xinjiang complained of harassment by local police, the sports network said. “The allegations in the ESPN article are disturbing,” NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said in an e-mail statement on Thursday. “We ended our involvement with the basketball academy in Xinjiang in June
Coming from the business world, New York Liberty owner Joe Tsai (蔡崇信) did not understand why his WNBA franchise did not have a chief executive officer similar to the team’s NBA counterpart the Brooklyn Nets, which Tsai also owns. For Tsai, it was about equality, so he did something about it. The 56-year-old Taipei-born billionaire businessman and philanthropist promoted Keia Clarke to the position last week — making her the first chief executive officer in the team’s history. The WNBA veteran became the third black woman to currently be in charge of a franchise in the league, joining Los Angeles Sparks president
LEAVING IT LATE: Rakuten added late runs last night to add to wins on Wednesday against the Brothers and the Lions on Friday that went down to the last batter The Rakuten Monkeys rallied to post three late runs for another close win, prevailing 5-3 over the Uni-President Lions yesterday as Taiwan’s second-half CPBL season got started with lower scoring output, but exciting finishes. It was Rakuten’s third win in a row. In two games this week, they seized victory in dramatic fashion with their last at-bat and have drawn level with the CTBC Brothers on top of the table after yesterday’s results, 0.5 games in front of the Fubon Guardians and 1.5 games ahead of the Lions. It was tied at 1-1 early, with Rakuten hosting the Lions at the Taoyuan Intenational