FA Cup Semi-Final: Fight to Win
Beating Arsenal in the Sixth Round of the FA Cup saw us into the FA Cup Semi-Final, where we would be facing high-flying Manchester City.
The likes of Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero, David Silva, and Yaya Toure made me think we would be crushed. The media didn't seem to think otherwise.
We would be coming to City on the back of a very very narrow 3-2 loss to Manchester United, and also a deserving 2-1 win over Everton. The Citizens' last two matches included only draws against Chelsea in the Premier League, and Girondins Bordeaux in the Europa League.
We had also pulled off an unlikely 4-0 win over Arsenal in the Sixth Round despite failing to do the same a week later in the Premier League.
Maybe, just maybe...
Gary Neville: Hello everyone, and today you join us at the Etihad Stadium, where Manchester City and Queens Park Rangers face off against each other.
Niall Quinn: Indeed, Gary.
Gary Neville: Queens Park Rangers have gotten far, with Andriy Shevchenko having led them to wins against the likes of Arsenal to get this far, while Manchester City have had it easy, brushing aside Charlton, Fulham, Cardiff, and Watford.
Niall Quinn: Of course, everyone will be betting on Manchester City to win this one easily but Andriy Shevchenko's side are known for pulling off major upsets. Firstly, let's take a look at the line-ups for today.
Gary Neville: Interestingly, Manchester City have opted for Gomes instead of the ever-reliable Joe Hart in goal. Richards is also fielded instead of Maicon and Zabaleta and Nastasic is given a rare start. This represents that Roberto Mancini is underestimating QPR, don't you think, Niall?
Niall Quinn: Definitely Gary. I think they should have at least used Maicon at right back and Joe Hart instead of Gomes. Yaya Toure and Marouane Fellaini will be causing problems for Rangers in the City midfield today, and so will Samir Nasri and Sergio Aguero, who are huge threats. However, Markel Susaeta gets a rare nod to start the match.
Gary Neville: Lastly, up front for City we have Mario Balotelli instead of Carlos Tevez.
Niall Quinn: In goal for QPR is Julio Cesar. At right back is Jose Bosingwa, with Fabio playing on the left. Doria, Onuoha, and Mbia forms the primary defensive trio.
Gary Neville: An extremely strong defense there for QPR. Mbia, Onuoha and Doria is a great three-man team and with just a bit of luck they could handle Aguero, Nasri, and Balotelli.
Niall Quinn: Esteban Granero partners Alejandro Faurlin in midfield, with Park Ji-Sung on the right wing. Wellington Nem is on the left after Junior Hoilett's horrible showing against Everton last week, and Djibril Cisse will lead the Rs' attack. QPR's line-up holds little surprises.
Gary Neville: Right you are, Niall, now let's proceed with the match.
1' - Hello, and welcome to the Etihad Stadium.
23' OWN GOAL - Aguero looks to shoot... and Nedum Onuoha has got it, great tackle. Unfortunately Onuoha accidentally hits it into his own net. Terrible mistake from the defender.
45' - HT: Man City 1-0 QPR. A fairly uneventful first half.
45' - Wallace will come on for Jose Bosingwa at the half-time break.
52' - Some good play from the QPR attackers and Cisse has the goal at his mercy, but Joe Hart scrambles to it before anything can happen.
53' - City's counter-attack only sees Marouane Fellaini shoot the ball way wide of the goal.
61' - Shevchenko attempts to freshen things up as Hoilett comes on for Wellington Nem. Manchester City also boost their defense with the arrival of Joleon Lescott, at the expense of Nastasic.
67' - A brilliant save by Julio Cesar to deny Aguero!
81' - Fabio is injured, and Ryan Nelsen will replace the on-loan defender. A couple of defensive changes to accommodate the newly-introduced New Zealand man, as Wallace moves to left-back and Nedum Onuoha moves to right-back.
82' - A reckless challenge by Samir Nasri on Junior Hoilett in the box results in the referee pointing to the spot. PENALTY FOR QPR!
82' GOAL - Faurlin runs up to hit the penalty... AND HE SCORES! A well-taken penalty as Gomes guesses the correct way, but is too slow to prevent the ball from hitting the back of the net. A dramatic late comeback from QPR!
90' - After an hour of being in the lead, Nasri's mistake has led to Faurlin scoring the equaliser in the 82nd minute, and the two teams will now go into extra-time.
105' - HT in Extra Time: Man City 1-1 QPR. Will this be heading to penalties?
106' - Balotelli runs with the ball and he hits it! ... Only to see his ball go wide, he should have done a lot better with that chance.
110' - Ryan Nelsen has picked up a knock, but there is no more subs left and the veteran defender looks able to carry on anyway.
111' GOAL - Park Ji-Sung runs all the way up into the box... AND SCORES! WHAT A TURNAROUND! MAN CITY 1-2 QPR!
115' GOAL - And it looks like it'll be heading to penalties after all! Mario Balotelli gets free of the defenders and strikes it beautifully! 2-2!
118' - Park Ji-Sung tries again but this time his shot is blocked by Gomes.
120' - FT: Man City 2-2 QPR. It will go to penalty shootouts, after all. QPR have done very well to contain an exciting Manchester City side.
GOAL - It will be Djibril Cisse to hit the first penalty, and he does it easily.
GOAL - Aguero scores his penalty for Manchester City as well!
GOAL - Faurlin takes his second penalty of the match, and he hits in the bottom corner. Another well-taken penalty.
GOAL - Barry also scores his penalty. It looked to be going wide, but thankfully for the Manchester City fans, the ball found the upper corner of the net.
GOAL - QPR are not backing down as Granero also scores his penalty, a beautiful shot to the left as Gomes jumps to the right.
GOAL - Balotelli is booed as he takes his penalty, but he doesn't let it affect him. Right into the bottom corner.
GOAL - Park, QPR's hero earlier, takes his penalty, and the captain sees his shot right in the back of the net. Well-taken.
MISS - After seven consecutive penalties hit in, Fellaini fails to emulate his previous three teammates and sees his weak shot saved by Julio Cesar.
GOAL - Junior Hoilett has the chance to bring glory to his club... if he scores this one, QPR are going to be in it, the FA Cup Final. He steadies himself, and takes the penalty coolly. AND HE SCORES! RIGHT IN THE BOTTOM LEFT! WHAT A PENALTY! WHAT A MATCH, AND WHAT A WIN BY QPR! Their players are all running towards Hoilett now, all mobbing him! Andriy Shevchenko looks mighty pleased! Queens Park Rangers are in the FA Cup Final!