Premier League title challengers Chelsea and Manchester City both crashed out of the FA Cup after being sensationally beaten by lower-league opponents in the fourth round on Saturday.
A weakened Chelsea team threw away a 2-0 lead to lose 4-2 at home to third-tier Bradford City in one of the biggest upsets in the competition’s recent history, while City lost 2-0 to Championship high-fliers Middlesbrough at the Etihad Stadium.
With Southampton beaten 3-2 by Crystal Palace, it means that none of the Premier League’s top three teams will feature in today’s fifth-round draw, blowing the competition wide open.
Manchester United, who are fourth in the Premier League, face a replay against fourth-division Cambridge United after a 0-0 away draw on Friday, while Bolton Wanderers earned a replay with Liverpool.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho had said prior to kick-off at Stamford Bridge that it would be a “disgrace” if his side were beaten by Bradford and he declared himself “ashamed” at the final whistle.
Bradford’s win carried echoes of famous FA Cup upsets by Hereford United, Sutton United and Wrexham, and came two years after the League One club’s run to the League Cup final in 2013.
“The day we got to the League Cup final, that result at Villa Park, was a very special one,” Bradford manager Gary Parkinson said. “But today, in terms of the performance, that has to be the best. To come to the Premier League leaders and score four goals will take some beating.”
Chelsea made nine changes to the team that had drawn 1-1 with Liverpool in the League Cup semi-final first leg on Tuesday last week and took a 21st-minute lead when Gary Cahill flicked in Oscar’s corner.
Ramires made it 2-0 in the 38th minute after a one-two with Mohamed Salah, but Jon Stead replied for Bradford three minutes later, then former Chelsea youth player Filipe Morais equalized 15 minutes from time.
A money-spinning replay beckoned for Bradford, who are currently seventh in the third tier — 51 places below Chelsea — but they went ahead in the 82nd minute when Andy Halliday found the top corner from 18 yards.
Mourinho introduced Willian, Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard from the bench, but it was Bradford who had the final say as substitute Mark Yeates calmly slotted home to claim his own piece of FA Cup folklore.
“I repeat a word I used before this match — it’s a disgrace for a big team to lose to a small team from a lower league,” Mourinho said. “We must feel ashamed. Me and the players must feel ashamed.”
City manager Manuel Pellegrini had to field questions about his side’s mid-week trip to Abu Dhabi for a warm-weather training camp after the reigning Premier League champions were eliminated by Middlesbrough.
Currently second in the Championship, Middlesbrough weathered heavy pressure in the first half, before capitalizing on some farcical defending to take a 53rd-minute lead through on-loan Chelsea striker Patrick Bamford.
Fernando’s back-pass sold Willy Caballero short and after the City goalkeeper collided with Albert Adomah, Fernando slid in to clear, only to play the ball against Bamford, whose touch took the ball in.
After Lee Tomlin had hit the post for Middlesbrough and Frank Lampard had replied in kind, substitute Kike secured victory for the visitors in stoppage-time by finishing off a counterattack led by Bamford.
“I can’t find words to explain my feelings today,” Middlesbrough coach Aitor Karanka said. “But I’m proud of the players, the crowd, the fans, the staff and the club.”
Asked if the Abu Dhabi trip had affected the result, Pellegrini told the BBC: “It’s easy to have an excuse, but I don’t think that was the case.”
Liverpool avoided the fate that befell Chelsea and City, but they were taken to a replay by Championship club Bolton following a 0-0 draw at Anfield.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, who rested captain Steven Gerrard, saw his side dominate, but they could not find a way past Bolton goalkeeper Adam Bogdan.
In other results, it was:
‧ Birmingham 1, West Brom 2
‧ Blackburn 3, Swansea 1
‧ Cardiff 1, Reading 2
‧ Derby 2, Chesterfield 0
‧ Preston 1, Sheffield United 1
‧ Sunderland 0, Fulham 0
‧ Tottenham 1, Leicester 2
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