/ 28 March 2012

Tottenham, Everton book FA Cup semifinal spots


Tottenham Hotspur and Everton completed the semifinal line-up in the FA Cup after clinching victories in their respective quarterfinal replays on Tuesday night.

Tottenham beat Bolton Wanderers 3-1 thanks to goals from Ryan Nelsen, Gareth Bale and Louis Saha, to set up a semifinal against Chelsea.

Everton booked an all-Merseyside derby semifinal against Liverpool after a superb 2-0 win at Sunderland, with Nikica Jelavic and an own goal from David Vaughan seeing them through.

Everton players celebrate after beating Sunderland at the Stadium of Light in their FA Cup quarterfinal replay on Tuesday. (Getty Images)

After a tight first half, all the goals at White Hart Lane came in the last 20 minutes.

Nelsen broke the deadlock after 74 minutes with a header before Bale finished off a slick break to double their lead three minutes later.

Kevin Davies pulled one back in the last minute of normal time but Saha smashed in the third in injury time.

“We’ve had a long hard season but we’ve shown how we want to get off the bad run and keep improving,” Bale said.

“Everybody wants to win the FA Cup. We have got a great chance, we’ve got tough opponents in Chelsea but we will give it our best shot to win.”

Muamba’s condition improving
The tie was a rematch of the game that was called off when Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba collapsed after having a cardiac arrest.

Muamba is recovering in hospital and Bolton manager Owen Coyle said football still paled into insignificance when compared to the incident.

“There’s been continued improvement but such a long way to go,” he said, of Muamba’s condition.

“Where he is today with regards to 10 days ago is huge. We have to thank everybody for the strength and support. That has been a big player in Fabrice’s recovery. As horrible as those events were, there’s been a real positivity about what has come out from it. We have the best game in the world, bar none, but to see it in such a good light, although we don’t want to see the scenes that we did, it was great,” added Coyle.

At the Stadium of Light, Everton took the lead when their January signing Jelavic scored with a nice finish from just inside the area on 24 minutes.

Sunderland searched for an equaliser but were undone when Vaughan hit the ball back against himself for an own goal shortly before the hour mark.

“That was a fantastic performance,” Everton’s Phil Neville said. “When you come to an away ground you want to play with no fear and I think we did that tonight. The boys were fantastic.” — Sapa