Tag Archives: player

Paul Lambert has challenged Christian Benteke to stay at Aston Villa

Lambert challenges Benteke to stay at Villa and prove he's not a one-season wonder

By
Neil Moxley

PUBLISHED:

17:15 GMT, 19 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

19:44 GMT, 19 April 2013

Paul Lambert registered little surprise at Christian Benteke’s nomination for the PFA young player of the year yesterday but asked Aston Villa’s top scorer to guard against becoming a one-season wonder.

Benteke, 22, has scored 19 goals so far, including 15 in the Premier League, and been the major reason why Lambert’s side has managed to claw themselves clear of trouble in the Premier League.

His physical presence has also allowed others to flourish. But Villa’s boss remained phlegmatic at the announcement, instead urging Benteke to carry on his good work.

Plea: Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has challenged Belgian striker Christian Benteke to stay at Villa Park and prove he is no one-season wonder.

Plea: Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has challenged Belgian striker Christian Benteke to stay at Villa Park and prove he is no one-season wonder.

'I’m not bothered if he’s nominated or not, as long as he’s performing for this club,' said Lambert, 'we’ll have to wait and see whether he wins it.

'However, I don’t think it’ll affect him one bit. If he remains the way he is at this minute, he’ll do very well for himself.

Preparation: Benteke and Villa travel to Manchester United this weekend

Preparation: Benteke and Villa travel to Manchester United this weekend

'And I don’t want to pile too much pressure upon him. He’s only a young guy learning his trade. He’s made mistakes like everyone else but his performances have been very good.

'He’s got to sustain a level where he is doing it, week in, week out.

'No doubt we’ll look at his contract at the end of the season. I just don’t want him to be one-season wonder.'

Little interest: Lambert is not bothered whether Benteke wins the PFA Young Player of the Year or not - knowing how valuable he has been for his side this season

Little interest: Lambert is not bothered whether Benteke wins the PFA Young Player of the Year or not – knowing how valuable he has been for his side this season

The spotlight will be on Manchester United’s David De Gea after Andy Carroll’s challenge on the keeper at Upton Park last week.

Lambert said that while Benteke was aggressive, there is no malicious intent.

Michael Carrick

Robin van Persie

Tough test: Villa travel to Old Trafford to face Player of the Year nominees Michael Carrick and Robin Van Persie

'I think a lot has been made of that situation,' added the Scot, 'we don’t really have a physical side, it has only been Christian, he’s a big lad but not an aggressive guy who does not want to hurt anyone.

'I don’t think anyone goes out to hurt anyone. The British game is an up and out them type of football. But Christian is not that way inclined.'

Wrong end: Fabian Delph's (right) own goal gave Aston Villa a point against an 'underrated' Fulham side

Wrong end: Fabian Delph's (right) own goal gave Aston Villa a point against an 'underrated' Fulham side

Threatened: Villa now sit just three points above the relegation zone and Wigan have a game in hand

Threatened: Villa now sit just three points above the relegation zone and Wigan have a game in hand

Mario Balotelli named as one of TIME"S 100 most influential people

Which former Premier League bad boy has made the list of the world's top 100 influential people And which three other sporting giants are there too

.

One thing nobody could dispute is Balotelli's news value, with the 22-year-old often finding himself plastered over pages at the front end of newspapers, as well as at the back.

Former French Open tennis champion Na is back at the very top of women's tennis. The popular Chinese player narrowly missed out on another Grand Slam title in January, when she lost the Australian Open final to Victoria Azarenka.

Top star: Li Na, seen here in action last month in Florida, has made the TIME list

Top star: Li Na, seen here in action last month in Florida, has made the TIME list

Speaking about Na, tennis legend Chris Evert said: 'Tennis has exploded in China. The country now has some 15 million tennis players; 116 million people watched Li win the French Open. That kind of exposure is crucial to our sport, and it never would have happened without Li.

'At tournaments, I’ve seen her charm the crowds. When she smiles, everyone melts. She’s such a breath of fresh air. And like Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova before her, Li Na has transcended her sport.'

James is quite simply a superstar of American sport. The Miami Heat forward became the youngest player in NBA history to reach 20,000 career points earlier this year.

Jump to it: LeBron James goes up for a dunk against Philadelphia last month

Jump to it: LeBron James goes up for a dunk against Philadelphia last month

He is one of the most well-known characters in American public life, and New York Yankees baseball stalwart Derek Jeter said: 'I’ve had the chance to meet LeBron James, and I know he’s a Yankees fan. I also know it must be tough to root for the Yankees while living in Miami and Cleveland.

'Most people in LeBron’s position aren’t as grounded as he is. He hasn’t forgotten where he comes from, and he’s given back so much to Ohio and Akron, his hometown. LeBron cares deeply about these places, and that says a lot about him.'

Vonn is a titan of winter sports, with the American at the top of skiing for more than a decade.

Looking good: Vonn has made her name on the slopes

Looking good: Vonn has made her name on the slopes

Lindsey Vonn

Lindsey Vonn

Supporting Tiger: Lindsey Vonn was at Augusta last week to watch Woods play at the Masters

The Olympic downhill champion will be best remembered this season for a terrible crash in the super-giant slalom at the World Championships in Austria. Despite serious injuries suffered by Vonn, she insists that she will be fit and ready for next February's Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.

If Vonn wasn't already famous enough in her own right, the identity of her significant other ensures an even higher profile. She is of course dating golfing icon Tiger Woods.

David Beckham: I will decide my Paris Saint-Germain future in the summer

Beckham: I will decide my Paris Saint-Germain future in the summer

By
Ian Ladyman

PUBLISHED:

21:06 GMT, 3 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

01:07 GMT, 4 April 2013

David Beckham has not ruled out staying for another season at Paris Saint-Germain and has had talks with the club’s owners.

The former England captain made a return to the Champions League on Tuesday, playing the first 70 minutes of PSG’s 2-2 draw with Barcelona at the Parc des Princes.

Now the 37-year-old is being asked if he will extend the short-term deal he signed at Christmas. ‘We’ll see. I’ve spoken to the owners and I’ve spoken to the manager, I know how happy they are with me, and they know how happy I am here,’ Beckham said.

Staying put: David Beckham could be set to extend his stay in Paris

Staying put: David Beckham could be set to extend his stay in Paris

‘But I’m not getting any younger, so I’ll enjoy the rest of the season and then we’ll talk.’

Beckham’s performance in Paris certainly didn’t seem that of a man in any rush to retire and was mostly well received across Europe.

Fellow midfielder Blaise Matuidi is suspended for next week’s return leg in the Nou Camp, giving Beckham a decent chance of featuring on the ground where he won the Champions League with Manchester United in 1999.

‘If I start, then great,’ he added. ‘If I don’t and come on then I’ll try and make an impact. It’s always good at the Nou Camp. It’s even better when you win there. Winning the European Cup wasn’t against Barcelona but that’s my
greatest memory of playing there.

Top level: David Beckham continues to look comfortable against some of the world's very best

Top level: David Beckham continues to look comfortable against some of the world's very best

‘And when we [Real Madrid] beat them there 2-1, the first time Real Madrid had beaten them there for a few years, was special too.’

Despite a role as an impact player and turning 38 next month, Beckham revealed his training regime hasn’t changed much over the years.

‘At my age usually you change things,’ he said. ‘But I’m still training the same as the rest of the players and the team, work as hard as them and don’t want to be treated any differently, even at my age.’

Massadio Haidara could return against Fulham after Callum McManaman"s horror tackle

Haidara could be back NEXT WEEK after speedy recovery from McManaman's lunge

By
Graeme Yorke

PUBLISHED:

15:30 GMT, 28 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:04 GMT, 28 March 2013

Massadio Haidara could return to action next week after the Newcastle defender was on the receiving end of a horror tackle from Wigan's Callum McManaman

Fortunately for the 21-year-old and Newcastle, the French defender could feature against Fulham next weekend, but will miss Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash at Manchester City.

Pardew, while surprised at comments made
by Wigan chairman Dave Whelan and manager Roberto Martinez after the
game, was simply relieved not to have lost his January signing for
several months.

Ouch: Massadio Haidara was carried off after a lunge from Callum McManaman

Ouch: Massadio Haidara was carried off after a lunge from Callum McManaman

Got away with it: Callum McManaman was not punished by referee Mark Halsey or the FA for this tackle

Got away with it: Callum McManaman was not punished by referee Mark Halsey or the FA for this tackle

Asked if either the club or the defender had received an apology from the Latics, he said: 'No, I don't think so.

'I was a little bit surprised at the manager's and the chairman's
comments that it was a fair challenge – I think everybody else could see
that it wasn't. But that's opinion and I can understand them wanting to
defend their player.

'It would be interesting to know what their opinion would have been if
it was Cheick Tiote on [James] McCarthy, their outstanding young
midfield player.

'But it is what it is, it's done and we move on to another game.'

Haidara lies in agony on the ground

Agony: Massadio Haidara left the field on a stretcher but thankfully has not suffered serious damage

Agony: Massadio Haidara left the field on a stretcher but thankfully has not suffered serious damage
.
Head down: Wigan manager Roberto Martinez is concerned McManaman has taken too much flak

Head down: Wigan manager Roberto Martinez is concerned McManaman has taken too much flak

Pardew also
renewed his calls for the Premier League to employ professional
assistant referees in the wake of McManaman’s controversial challenge.

Pardew’s belief that referees should
team up with full-time assistants was only strengthened in the wake of
the incident at the DW Stadium during which the French
full back was carried off with what looked at the time like a serious
knee injury.

Unsighted referee Mark Halsey took no
action over the tackle, and McManaman escaped retrospective action
because one of the officials did have a clear view and deemed it fair.

Haidara's fellow full backs Mathieu Debuchy and Davide Santon are also on Newcastle's casualty list for the trip to the Etihad.

Back in action: Toon captain Fabricio Coloccini trains in the Newcastle gym

Back in action: Toon captain Fabricio Coloccini trains in the Newcastle gym

Back in action: Toon captain Fabricio Coloccini trains in the Newcastle gym

Six Nations 2013: Tom Croft and Joe Launchbury named in England XV for Wales game

Launchbury passed fit and Croft returns for England's Grand Slam decider with Wales

By
Rob Wildman

PUBLISHED:

10:16 GMT, 14 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

14:12 GMT, 14 March 2013

England today named key forward Joe Launchbury to start against Wales on Saturday despite the lock sustaining an elbow injury last Sunday against Italy.

The inform Wasps lock has had treatment all week on an elbow injury raising concern that he would miss out on England’s attempt at winning a first Grand Slam 2003.

But Launchbury was given the all-clear
this morning for a Cardiff showdown which will see England field a team
showing four changes to the one which started out in the disappointing
18-11 win over Italy.

Scroll down for video

Back in action: Tom Croft is set to start for England for the first time since breaking his neck

Back in action: Tom Croft is set to start for England for the first time since breaking his neck

As predicted by Sportsmail, fly half
Owen Farrell, scrum-half Ben Youngs and flanker Tom Croft all return
while prop Joe Marler has won the vote ahead of Mako Vunipola at loose
head.

The four players who miss out – fly
half Toby Flood, scrum-half Danny Care, flanker James Haskell and
Vunipola – are all included on the England bench.

England's head coach coach Stuart
Lancaster said: ‘We want to finish well on what will be a fantastic
occasion in Cardiff. It will be a great experience for our English team.

'Every single player, whether they are
in the 23 or not this Saturday, has contributed to getting us in this
position and they should be proud of that.

'The support of the country has been great throughout the tournament and I am sure they will be right behind us come 5-o-clock.'

He added: 'Tom's extra lineout
presence will hopefully give us an advantage. He is clearly a quality
player and he has had a great impact since he has come back into the
team.

Ready for battle: Croft will try and help England win the Grand Slam

Ready for battle: Croft will try and help England win the Grand Slam

Ready to go: Launchbury has been passed fit to face Wales

Ready to go: Launchbury has been passed fit to face Wales

England team

'I see it as an 80-minute game. James Haskell's impact coming off the bench will serve us better.'

Lancaster took the same approach to his decision to start with Marler and use Mako Vunipola as a high-impact replacement.

“Both props will play a big contribution. We believe Joe will give us the solidity in the scrum and then as the game wears on Mako will come on and do his thing.”

Although Flood kicked all of England's points against Italy and did little wrong, Farrell has reclaimed the fly-half jersey after shaking the thigh injury he sustained against France.

The Saracens fly-half did not enjoy his best day against Les Bleus but he will bring control and defensive ferocity which England will need in the cauldron of the Millennium Stadium.

“Clearly Wales will target that area and they will be coming down that channel and I am sure Owen will be ready for some work. We have got a big challenge coming our way but we will be ready for it,' Lancaster said.

Farrell and Youngs managed the game expertly against Ireland in Dublin earlier in the tournament and Lancaster will want them to replicate that performance.

England are chasing their first Grand Slam in a decade but Saturday's clash is a genuine title decider, with Wales capable of retaining their crown.

Inside Line: Season 3, Episode 9

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Lancaster is yet to lose an away game in the Six Nations and he believes those experiences and the memory of beating New Zealand at home in December will stand his men in good stead.

'When you look at this Welsh side, there are not many weaknesses,' Lancaster said.

'It will take an outstanding effort but we have done it before, we have been to away games and won. We have played the best side in the world at home and won.

'We have to deal with the occasion and play with composure and accuracy. There is a quiet self-belief.'

Ladies Day at Cheltenham – watch Andy Hooper"s video

Ladies Day at Cheltenham! Watch Andy Hooper's video of the Festival fillies

By
Andy Hooper

PUBLISHED:

16:43 GMT, 13 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:43 GMT, 13 March 2013

The second day of Cheltenham welcomed the ladies – and Sportsmail was there to capture the visitors to the Festival.

Before the action on the track unfolded, Andy Hooper filmed footage of the ladies dressed in their colourful outfits. Click on the video player before to watch his clip…

Hats off to them! Fine fillies descend on Cheltenham for Ladies…

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Jack Wilshere and Bacary Sagna set to miss Arsenal game at Bayern Munich through injury

EXCLUSIVE: Wilshere in race to be fit for England after being ruled out of Arsenal's showdown with Bayern

By
Sami Mokbel

PUBLISHED:

22:25 GMT, 11 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

00:09 GMT, 12 March 2013

Jack Wilshere could miss England’s crucial World Cup qualifying double header against San Marino and Montenegro.

Arsenal’s brilliant midfielder is out of Wednesday’s Champions League trip to Bayern Munich after failing to recover from the ankle injury he collected in the 2-1 defeat by Spurs nine days ago.

He will be left behind when the team flies to Bavaria today, and is not expected to recover in time for Saturday’s vital trip to Swansea.

Injury doubt: Jack Wilshere is in a race to be fit for England's trips to San Marino and Montenegro

Injury doubt: Jack Wilshere is in a race to be fit for England's trips to San Marino and Montenegro

Blow: Jack Wilshere is set to miss Arsenal's Champions League clash with Bayern Munich

Blow: Jack Wilshere is set to miss Arsenal's Champions League clash with Bayern Munich through injury

That puts England boss Roy Hodgson on a collision course with Gunners manager Arsene Wenger yet again over picking the 21-year-old for his country.

Hodgson names his squad on Thursday, and will want Wilshere in his side after his talismanic performance in last month’s friendly against Brazil – especially for the must-win trip to face Group H leaders Montenegro.

But Wenger, who sent the player on a mid-season break to Dubai to aid his recovery, will fear that he could break down on international duty and miss his club’s critical fight to retain their Champions League status for another season.

The Arsenal manager was angry last month that his star player was on the field for the full 90 minutes against Brazil at Wembley, when he believed he had an agreement that he would not play the entire game.

He also clashed with Hodgson in November over his selection for the squad for a friendly against Sweden when he had only just recovered from an injury sustained on Arsenal’s pre-season trip to America.

And England Under 21 coach Stuart Pearce also bowed to pressure from the Gunners to leave him out of his squad for last summer’s tournament.

Wenger has other injury problems as his side got to Munich searching for a way to overturn their 3-1 deficit from the first leg.

Bacary Sagna is out after failing to recover from a knee problem and is also a major doubt for Saturday’s trip to The Liberty Stadium.

Setback: Wilshere could be out for a few weeks

Setback: Wilshere could be out for a few weeks

It will leave the Gunners being forced to rush back Kieran Gibbs who has missed six weeks with a thigh injury.

With Nacho Monreal cup tied, Sagna's injury leaves Wenger short of defensive options for the clash against Jupp Heynckes men.

If the Gunners decide not to risk Gibbs, they are likely to line-up with a back-four of Carl Jenkinson, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen, the club's only available recognised defenders for the clash at the Allianz Arena.

However, the Gunners have been boosted by news that Bayern forward Franck Ribery will miss the second leg with an ankle injury.

Influential midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger and defender Jerome Boateng are suspended.

Crisis: Bacary Sagna is set to miss the last-16 clash against Bayern Munich through injury

Crisis: Bacary Sagna is set to miss the last-16 clash after failing to recover from a knee problem

Gareth Bale to sign for Barcelona says Gerard Pique

We'd love to have Bale at Barcelona, says Catalan giants' defender Pique

By
Charlie Skillen

PUBLISHED:

11:26 GMT, 10 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:51 GMT, 10 March 2013

Gareth Bale has been told he would be a great fit for Barcelona by the Catalan giants’ defender Gerard Pique.

Pique, who has made 29 appearances for Barca this season, said the La Liga leaders’ dressing room is always awash with talk of English football, and Bale is a hot topic.

Bale has scored ten goals in his last eight games for Tottenham, and will face fellow Player of the Year contender Luis Suarez when Spurs travel to Liverpool in the Premier League today.

Perfect fit: Pique said Tottenham's Gareth Bale is an 'unbelievable player' good enough to play for any side

Perfect fit: Pique said Tottenham's Gareth Bale is an 'unbelievable player' good enough to play for any side

And his stellar performances have caught the eye of Barcelona, where Pique is a huge admirer.

‘He is an unbelievable player, a great player – he has with all the conditions to play in the team that he wants to,’ Pique told the BBC.

‘He's doing a great job at Tottenham, and we will see. We want to have all the best players in our team.

Sensation: Bale (centre), tearing through the Inter Milan on Thursday, has scored ten in eight for Spurs

Sensation: Bale (centre), tearing through the Inter Milan on Thursday, has scored ten in eight for Spurs

‘It’s true that maybe, because he’s really quick and with the power he’s got, he fits a bit better at Real Madrid, but he can play here too definitely.

‘The best players can fit in any team, no matter the style.’

Pique, who re-joined boyhood club Barcelona from Manchester United in 2008, said the Premier League is also a reason to poke fun at one of his team-mates.

Hot topic: Pique (left), challenging Cristiano Ronaldo, said English football is always discussed at Barcelona

Hot topic: Pique (left), challenging Cristiano Ronaldo, said English football is always discussed at Barcelona

‘Fabregas loves to talk about Arsenal – but we say they have no chance to win anything this year!’ he said.

Barcelona are currently 14 points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid in the Spanish La Liga, but face a difficult task on Tuesday at the Nou Camp to overcome a two-goal deficit against AC Milan in the Champions League.

Paul Gascoigne back in Britain looking frail after a month in American rehab clinic

Gazza flies back for 'one last chance': England legend Gascoigne back in Britain looking frail after a month in rehab clinic

By
Emma Clark, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

05:20 GMT, 10 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

05:20 GMT, 10 March 2013

Paul Gascoigne thought he was going to die during his latest stretch in rehab to beat alcohol addiction, it has been reported.

The ex-England and Newcastle player returned to Britain on Saturday after more than a month at the clinic in Phoenix, Arizona, during which he was treated in intensive care.

Doctors said it was the worst detox they had ever seen when the shock of giving up alcohol sent his body into seizure, Gascoigne told The Sun on Sunday.

Thin but sober: Paul Gascoigne arriving at his home yesterday looking frail

Thin but sober: Paul Gascoigne arriving at his home yesterday looking frail

He said: 'Three doctors didn't think I would make it.

'It has got to inspire me to never let this happen again.

'I've come through that – death. I was dead.'

He added: “I thought I was on my way out. I looked like a corpse. I was a total wreck.'

The 45-year-old said he woke up in
intensive care strapped to the bed to stop tubes from falling out of his
arms and was repeatedly injected.

Emotional: The footballer has admitted drinking binges have almost killed him in the past

Emotional: The footballer has admitted drinking binges have almost killed him in the past

Rehab: Gazza is understood to be heading back to Britain after a month in a clinic in Arizona

Rehab: Gazza is understood to be heading back to Britain after a month in a clinic in Arizona

Gascoigne, who also played for Lazio
and Tottenham, said he feels grateful to be alive and is determined to
stay away from alcohol.

His latest stint in rehab was
organised by talkSPORT presenter and former England cricketer Ronnie
Irani and Radio 2 presenter Chris Evans, a long-term friend of
Gascoigne.

The move came following a charity
appearance in Northampton during which the star appeared unwell and
shaking, before breaking down and sobbing on stage in front of a room
full of fans.

Glory days: Paul Gascoigne was one of the best football players of his generation

Glory days: Paul Gascoigne was one of the best football players of his generation

The world of football has shown its
concern at the latest troubled period in the life of Gascoigne, one of
England's most naturally gifted players ever.

Gascoigne, who has spoken about alcoholism problems in the past, was sectioned five years ago under the Mental Health Act.

Derby 1 Chelsea 2: Alex Kiwomya"s late strike sends holders into FA Youth Cup semi-final

Derby 1 Chelsea 2: Kiwomya's late strike sends holders into FA Youth Cup semi-finals

By
Adam Shergold

PUBLISHED:

02:06 GMT, 9 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

02:08 GMT, 9 March 2013

Chelsea's defence of the FA Youth Cup remains alive after they negotiated a tricky quarter-final assignment at Derby County thanks to Alex Kiwomya's late strike.

The Blues were matched all the way by a talented Derby side but eventually prevailed when Kiwomya, nephew of former Arsenal player Chris, found the bottom corner with a sweet drive on 82 minutes.

Extra time looked likely as Derby, who claimed a Premier League scalp in Manchester City in the last round, sniffed another when the excellent Mason Bennett equalised Lewis Baker's 16th minute penalty.

Traget man: Chelsea's Jeremie Boga has an effort on goal

Traget man: Chelsea's Jeremie Boga has an effort on goal

But when Kiwomya received a through ball from substitute Charlie Colkett, he spun and fired beyond Rams goalkeeper Ross Etheridge to kill their hopes.

The win means Chelsea will face either Hull City or Liverpool in the last four as they seek to emulate last year's success.

Chelsea took the lead in controversial circumstances just after the quarter-hour – Reece Mitchell burst through the heart of the Derby defence and was clattered by Etheridge inside the box.

The keeper was fortunate not to be sent off for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity, referee Chris Sarginson showing mercy with just a yellow card.

Lewis Baker wasn't so sympathetic, however, finding the bottom corner with a textbook penalty while Mitchell hobbled off.

The Premier League side should have added to their lead as they controlled the first half, and Alex Kiwomya was guilty of missing two golden opportunities within a minute of each other.

Goal-den boy: Alex Kiwomya celebrates his strike

Goal-den boy: Alex Kiwomya celebrates his strike

First, neat interplay between Baker and Jeremie Boga on the edge of the box teed Kiwomya up 12 yards out, but he somehow missed the target.

On Chelsea's next break, the front man was presented with an even easier chance by Baker, but his powerful shot directly in front of goal was blocked by Etheridge.

And there was nearly a sting in the tale when Bennett rose above Alex Davey to head an Andrew Dales cross against the post in the second minute of stoppage time.

It was their best effort of a first half in which they struggled to keep the ball for any length of time.

Jamie Hanson, goalscoring hero in the victories over Ipswich Town and Manchester City in the last two rounds, curled a vicious free-kick over the bar, but other sights of goal had been few and far between.

The hosts were energised by the half-time break and 16-year-old Bennett, the club's youngest first team debutant and goalscorer, and an England Under 17 starlet, began to show his class.

He warmed the hands of Mitchell Beeney with a hit from 30 yards and then scored the equaliser on 55 minutes – although whether he meant it only he knows.

Blues brothers: Chelsea are through to semi-finals

Blues brothers: Chelsea are through to semi-finals

Tearing down the left side after robbing Fankaty Dabo of the ball, Bennett cut inside and surely intended to pick out a teammate in the centre with a low ball. It took a deflection off a Chelsea foot, however, and left Beeney helpless.

With his next touch of the ball, Bennett crossed for Andrew Dales inside the box. The midfielder unleashed a powerful effort which cannoned back off the crossbar.

But when Kiwomya struck it was a decisive blow, Derby unable to respond despite the encouragement of a 4,000-strong crowd.

In fact, Chelsea could have added to their lead in stoppage time when Jeremie Boga's lopping shot struck the top of the crossbar.

With the last kick of the game, Hanson was nearly Derby's hero again but his free-kick on the left clipped the top of the bar.

Blues brothers: Chelsea are through to semi-finals

Darren Wassall, Derby youth team coach, said: 'On the balance of the second half chances and play, then certainly we could have taken it to extra time.

'We said to the lads at half time you've seen how the crowd have got up in the last five minutes of the half and that's without scoring. So if you do score, this 4,000 crowd will be right behind you.

'When we equalised and when Mason went through, we had a real lively 20 minutes after the break. We had hit the bar and had a couple of chances we easily could have scored from. That's when we were in the ascendancy and that's when we should have taken advantage of that situation.

'Chelsea have got unlimited resources and they've got a lot of qualities – they played some great stuff, but so did we. We gave them a real fight. We competed against them for 95 minutes and I'm very proud of all the players.'

Wassall singled out Bennett for special praise: 'He was almost unplayable tonight for 20 minutes early in that second half. He scored the goal and caused havoc. It's all about progression into the first team and we're delighted with his performance tonight.'