Soccer

Chelsea to play Man U in FA Cup after beating Middlesbrough

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Associated Press
2/27/2013 4:54:41 PM
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LONDON -- Rafa Benitez watched his Chelsea side beat Middlesbrough 2-0 in the FA Cup fifth round on Wednesday and then announced he would leave at the end of the season, delivering an emotional outburst that included a swipe at the club's fans and hierarchy.

As with most games in his turbulent reign that began in November, Benitez was barracked by a section of supporters at Riverside Stadium.

An unconvincing win was sealed by goals from Ramires and Victor Moses in the second half, setting up an eye-catching quarterfinal against Manchester United at Old Trafford on March 10.

A defiant Benitez wasn't in any mood to celebrate after the match, however.

"They should concentrate on supporting the team," Benitez said of the club's fans. "In the end, they are not making any favours to the club, to the rest of the fans and the players.

"They put pressure on the players and don't create a good atmosphere at Stamford Bridge. They have to realize they rare making a big mistake. ... it would be much better to have a good atmosphere."

Referring to the club's hierarchy, Benitez added: "It's because someone made a mistake. They put my title (as) 'interim manager,' and I will leave at the end of the season."

Benitez had spent the build-up to the match playing down media speculation of a fierce confrontation with players at a training session, with John Terry widely reported to have been involved in the alleged row.

Terry, rested for the 2-0 loss at Manchester City in the Premier League on Sunday, was recalled as one of eight changes to the starting lineup but a team containing several fringe players was unconvincing in the first half, failing to trouble home goalkeeper Jason Steele.

The defending champions improved after the break and Ramires opened the scoring in the 51st minute by curling in a shot from the edge of the area that took a slight deflection of Fernando Torres.

Moses sealed victory by tapping home in the 73rd minute at the end of a well-worked move. The result was better than the performance, though, with Chelsea sluggish for the most part. Torres again endured another miserable night up front, showing no sign of a return to form.

It keeps Chelsea, the winner of the FA Cup for four of the past six seasons, in the hunt for silverware on two fronts this season. The team also through to the last 16 of the Europa League.

Soccer Balls (Photo: Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images)
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