Rochdale earn a trip to Wembley while Manchester United and Chelsea ease into the quarter-finals. Norwich save pride in East-Anglia derby and the beautiful game turns ugly in Brazil reports Charlie Wetton
Every year when the big boys enter the FA Cup, we get inundated with stories from pundits that say the FA Cup has lost its mojo whilst others proclaim the glory of the world’s oldest cup competition is undiminished. Well, whatever your belief, for the Rochdale players at the Crown Oil Arena the magic of the FA Cup was well and truly alive. When Harry Kane had come off the bench to score what seemed a heart-breaking winner from the penalty spot, it seemed a dogged Rochdale side would leave empty-handed.
But Dale’s Steve Davies had other ideas and when he chested down and fired home from 12 yards the crowd roared with passion and delight as the realisation that a trip to the home of English of football was now here.
In the other games. Chelsea romped a 4-0 victory at home to Hull. Olivier Giroud scored his first goal since joining from Arsenal. A typical Giroud finish sweeping home from a low cross by debutant Emerson Palmieri. Willian was brilliant for the hosts scoring twice and could have easily grabbed his hat-trick in the second-half.
The VAR debate came to the John Smith Stadium but it did nothing to prevent Manchester United reaching the quarter-finals thanks to a brace from Romelu Lukaku. However, the game will be remembered for the video referee disallowing a goal by United’s Juan Mata. It provoked plenty of the usual Twitter over-reaction bordering on the conspiratorial from United fans who felt their team was robbed.
Away from the FA Cup and away from football almost, a league match in the Bahia state championship turned to farce. We all remember the odd bad-tempered game that sees both teams have a man sent off, maybe even two men, but ten? Well this clash between third place Vitoria and sixth place Bahia saw ten players red carded. And when five of Vitoria’s on-field players were shown the red, the referee had to abandon the game due to one side having a lack of players. The cause of all this commotion. Bahia celebrating scoring a penalty in front of the home fans to the fury of the Vitoria players. One can’t help but think that there might be better way to show your displeasure.