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 Tuesday, 17 December, 2002, 21:53 GMT
Forlan floors Chelsea
Manchester United striker Diego Forlan
Forlan continues his good form with a goal
Man Utd 1-0 Chelsea

Manchester United left it late but made it to the Worthington Cup semi-finals for the first time since 1994 with victory over Chelsea.

Diego Forlan was again the darling of Old Trafford, scoring the 80th-minute winner in a tight encounter dominated by defences.

The Uruguyuan made the most of an uncharacteristic mistake by Gianfranco Zola, driving the ball through the legs of Carlo Cudicini in the Chelsea goal.

The players wanted to win... they defended very well

Sir Alex Ferguson

Forlan then brushed the post a minute before the end as Sir Alex Ferguson's men recorded their eighth consecutive win.

It was also United's fifth clean sheet owed in large part to the excellence of Fabien Barthez, Wes Brown and Mikael Silvestre at the back.

Given the lofty position of both teams in the Premiership, a close game was to be expected.

Juan Sebastian Veron and Zola showed some exquisite touches, while Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink provided raw power.

Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes fires just wide
Scholes twice went close for the hosts

The Dutchman unleashed a thundering free-kick from 35 yards out that seemed to gather speed as it headed inexorably towards the top right-hand corner of the United goal.

But Barthez, currently enjoying his best spell at Old Trafford, reacted superbly to push the ball over for a corner.

United stuck to their recent recipe of mixing aggression with panache and Veron epitomised the home side's resurgence.

A few meaty tackles were followed by a peach of a pass to Ryan Giggs, who lifted the ball over Cudicini only to see his goal-bound effort cleared off the line by Mario Melchiot.

Paul Scholes twice went close for United, but the best chance of the half fell to Enrique De Lucas who somehow failed to hit the target from Jody Morris' accurate pass.

Neither side could reproduce the same rhythm or frenetic pace after the interval.

Chelsea's Gianfranco Zola
Zola cannot hide his despair

The impressive Brown made an excellent tackle to pinch the ball from the feet of Zola just as it seemed he might conjure up some magic.

The Italian could only look on in anguish as another chance went begging.

And Zola's despair was compounded with 10 minutes remaining as he gave the ball away to Gary Neville.

The United right-back fed the ball to David Beckham, who released Forlan to apply the finish.

Substitute Eidur Gudjohnsen had a goal harshly ruled out for offside late on, but he could not avert Chelsea's first in defeat in 11 games.


Man Utd: Barthez, Gary Neville, Brown, Silvestre, O'Shea, Beckham, Veron, Phil Neville, Giggs, Forlan, Scholes.
Subs Not Used: Carroll, Blanc, Stewart, Nardiello, Richardson.

Booked: Phil Neville.

Chelsea: Cudicini, Melchiot, Gallas, Terry, Le Saux, De Lucas (Zenden 66), Lampard, Morris, Stanic, Hasselbaink (Gudjohnsen 78), Zola.
Subs Not Used: de Goey, Ferrer, Desailly.

Booked: Terry, Stanic.

Attendance: 57,985

Referee: S Bennett (Kent).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
 BBC Five Live's John Murray
"The sides produced an entertaining first half"
 Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson
"It was an even game"

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17 Dec 02 | Man Utd
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