Cardiff, West Brom reach FA Cup semifinals

The FA Cup will boast one Premier League side in the last four after Cardiff City continued a weekend of shocks by beating Middlesbrough 2-0 on Sunday.

First-half goals from Peter Whittingham and Roger Johnson handed the Championship (second division) side a deserved win at the Riverside and a place in the semi-finals alongside Portsmouth, Barnsley and five-times winners West Bromwich Albion, who last lifted the trophy in 1968.

The last time there was only one top-flight team in the FA Cup semifinals was 1908.

West Brom restored some order to the competition after the Championship promotion challengers ended the run of League One (third division) outfit Bristol Rovers with a 5-1 victory, Ishmael Miller hitting a hat-trick.

On Saturday, Barnsley stunned holders Chelsea with a 1-0 win at Oakwell while Portsmouth ousted Premier League champions and last season’s beaten finalists Manchester United with a 1-0 success at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Portsmouth are now favourites to win a second FA Cup, 69 years after their first triumph.

Cardiff are the only non-English FA Cup winners after lifting the trophy in 1927 and manager Dave Jones said he hoped his modern-day side could achieve their own slice of history.

“Its important for us as a football club. I get it rammed down my throat ... 1927 every time ...
so we’re trying to make our own history, and these boys deserve it and I’m sure the plane [home] will be rocking, not with the wind but with us on it tonight,” Jones told BBC Sport.

Cardiff rocked Middlesbrough by taking a ninth-minute lead—Whittingham producing some trickery inside the penalty box before unleashing a curling shot into the top right hand corner past a flailing Mark Schwarzer.

Boro claimed that a Cardiff player had handled in the build-up to the goal but their protests were waved away.

Whittingham then turned provider as the Welsh side doubled their lead on 22 minutes. His freekick from the left was missed by all of Boro’s static defenders who failed to pick up Johnson’s run and the defender scored with a well-placed diving header.

James Morrison fired West Brom ahead after 16 minutes against Bristol Rovers, slotting in after keeper Steve Phillips had parried a shot into his path.

Miller hammered in a second on the half-hour before Rovers got one back immediately through Danny Coles following a corner.

Miller poked in to make it 3-1, substitute Kevin Phillips got a fourth and Miller completed his hat-trick in a one-sided second half.

The draw for the semifinals is on Monday. Since the Football League began in 1888-89 there has never been a final between two clubs from outside the top division. - Reuters

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