Chelsea reach Cardiff final

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Manchester United hosted Chelsea in an English League Cup semi-final second leg tie on Wednesday.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:49 IST
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Manchester United hosted Chelsea in an English League Cup semi-final second leg tie on Wednesday with the prize of a final against Liverpool at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on offer for the winners. With the teams having drawn 0-0 in the first leg in London earlier this month, the contest was evenly poised. Chelsea - the current English Premiership leaders, 11 points ahead of third-placed United - created the first chance of the match when Damien Duff cut an excellent cross back to Frank Lampard, who, with more space than he thought, could only fire wide. That was after just one minute but near the half-hour mark Lampard popped up again - and this time he scored. The goal came as Arjen Robben fed Didier Drogba on the left. The former Marseille man cut inside Gary Neville before teeing up Lampard and from eight metres, the England international calmly steered his shot into the corner beyond the dive of United goalkeeper Tim Howard. Into the second half and though United were dominating possession, the increasing impression was that Chelsea were more likely to score than their hosts. That almost came about after 63 minutes when Lampard struck an angled effort towards goal which Howard scrambled across to claw away. The American goalkeeper did even better two minutes later to keep out Robben's low effort with his feet after Tiago stepped over Drogba's square pass. Another two minutes later, however, and the home side were level, with Ryan Giggs exquisitely lobbing Gary Neville's cross over Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech. It was anyone's game now but all Howard's earlier good work was undone five minutes from time when Chelsea were handed a free-kick on the right edge of the penalty area. Duff floated the ball over a packed penalty area and with Howard failing to come and claim it, the cross simply bounced into the corner of his net. United poured forward looking for a second equaliser but Cech brilliantly turned away Ronaldo's close-range effort and so Chelsea claimed the win. Two-one on the night and 2-1 on aggregate, it's Chelsea who go forward to meet Liverpool in the final in Cardiff on February 27. (AP)

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