By Dermot Clarke
Alex Ferguson brought back his rested strikers for the Cup replay at Stamford Bridge and guess what happened? Yorke scored twice and both were set up by Andy Cole. It took a little over three minutes for the dynamic duo to spring into action. Cole found his partner with an instinctive knock on and Yorke found the corner of the net with his shot.
Chelsea probably had the better of the chances in this game, but it is on such occasions that class strikers usually show their mettle. Yorke’s clinching goal in the second half had the word "class" written all over it. After some sloppy Chelsea defending, Andy Cole won the ball and found Yorke, who saw De Goey a couple of yards off of his line, and with the outside of his boot curled an inch-perfect shot over the Chelsea keeper’s head and into the net. United play Arsenal in the semifinal.
Another tough away game for the Red Devils on Saturday. Newcastle looked like they were about to become a force again with the Cup demolition of Everton, but one of their old heroes came back to put them in their place on Saturday. Solano gave Newcastle the lead, but two strikes from Andy Cole kept United on course for the magical treble.
Roy Keane and Dennis Irwin will head for the Sun Siro on St. Patrick’s Day and a one goal defeat against Inter Milan will suffice to see their team through to the last four of the competition.
Time was when Ian Rush scored for Liverpool they wouldn’t lose. It was a proud boast for Rush, but the fact was that when Liverpool scored, courtesy of anyone in those days, they rarely lost. Robbie Fowler scored two on Saturday and still ended up on a losing Liverpool team.
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Things are pretty bleak at Anfield at present. Phil Thompson, it was thought, would help improve the defense with his knowledge and experience. Truth is, they’ve gotten even worse. It’s not Thompson’s fault though. There aren’t any good defenders on Merseyside at present. Gerard Houllier’s reign could be coming to a close. Qualification for Europe begins to look unlikely now.
The bottom-of-the-table intrigue continues. Forest’s 3-1 victory at Wimbledon has probably come too late for them. Mendonca’s equalizer in the 90th minute for Charlton kept them on survival course. Everton’s loss at Arsenal puts them in the danger zone also. So it’s still not clear who will make the drop, but one thing is certain, Sunderland will replace one of the relegated. Two fine away victories in the last week sees them 12 points clear atop Division One. Goals from Phillips and Clark gave them a 2-0 victory over Grimsby and in mid-week Niall Quinn repeated his "Roy of the Rovers" antics of a couple of seasons ago, when he first gave his side the lead and then went in goals to ensure they keep it.
In Scotland, it looks like the race is coming to an end. Difficult to see any team beat Celtic or Rangers on current form. Points loss by either team will likely come by virtue of an Old Firm clash. The signs are though, that Celtic have hit a real high and the feeling is that although the League title may be lost, the Cup is definitely on its way to the Celtic trophy cabinet. Celtic went to Pittodrie and pulverized Aberdeen in the second half with four goals. Celtic went in front when Mark Viduka met a Reggie Blinker corner with his head on 26 minutes and they took that lead to the break.
When Viduka added his second after 47 minutes, the points were in the bag. Larsson and Blinker again involved and when the latter shot against the post, Viduka was there to tap home. Substitute Pepper was on the field for six minutes, when he was dismissed for a foul on Blinker, who added salt to the wound minutes later when his cross found the prolific Larsson, who headed home a third. Larsson added his second almost immediately, with another header.
Aberdeen then scored the goal of the game by way of consolation, when Robbie Winters skipped past several Celtic defenders before netting past Gould. But even this was canceled out when Craig Burley restored the four goal advantage when Burley scored in the final minute. Rangers beat Motherwell 2-1.
League of Ireland
The League of Ireland gave us another one of those injured player sportsmanship scenarios on Sunday. A better version, of course, but similar circumstances. The game was Dundalk against Cork City and this is how Dundalk boss Jim McLaughlin described it, after a hop-ball resumed play following an injury to a player from the Louth club: "The Cork player said he would play the ball back to us and our player, Lee Thew took a step back to allow him to do so. But instead Cork went down the pitch with the ball and scored. In fact what happened was that Mark Herrick passed to his teammate O’Donoghue whose cross was first deflected by Kevin Flanagan of Dundalk and then sliced into the back of his own net by the aptly named Padraig Gollogley. Cork went on to win 2-0.