SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 18: Kieran Richardson of Sunderland celebrates scoring the opening goal during the FA Cup Fifth Round match between Sunderland and Arsenal at The Stadium of Light on February 18, 2012 in Sunderland, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

FA Cup Round 5: Liverpool Cruise To Quarterfinals, Stevenage Force Tottenham Replay

Liverpool showed the rest of the 'top' Premier League clubs how things are done, demolishing Brighton 6-1. Tottenham and Chelsea will have to make do with replays after being held by Stevenage and Birmingham.

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Liverpool Vs. Brighton, 2012 FA Cup: Liverpool Earn Own Goal-Powered 6-1 Win

It was own goal o'clock at Anfield as Brighton and Hove Albion managed a whopping four-goal haul against Liverpool. Unfortunately for the visitors, three of those goals were into their own net as the Championship side was brushed aside in what ended up being a 6-1 Liverpool win.

The hosts got off to a brilliant start as Martin Skrtel nodded home a corner three minutes in, but they were pegged back thanks to a free kick by Kezemba LuaLua. And then the craziness began. Before half time, Liam Bridcutt struck with own goal number one after a goalline clearance hit the unfortunate midfielder and bounced right back into Peter Brezovan's net. Things would only get more bizarre from there.

The apocalyptic combination of a Stewart Downing assist and an Andy Carroll goal was next to appear, the former Aston Villa man bursting into the penalty area to sweet up a sweet finish for the goal-shy striker. If that wasn't enough to convince you that something truly strange was going on, a pair of own goals finished off the Gulls.

The first came off the unfortunate Bridcutt, who got his anti-brace when he deflected Steven Gerrard's cross in at the near post. If one player scoring a pair of own goals was odd, the second brought the game into Twilight Zone territory. Lewis Dunk looked to have the situation under control as he brought down the ball on his chest inside his six-yard box under no pressure, but his attempts to keep the ball in the air with his knee ended up with him in the net and the ball having crossed the line. I don't think anyone's ever seen a non-deliberate own goal like that before.

At 5-1, there was time for Luis Suarez to miss a penalty and then score from point-blank range to finish the visitors off. 6-1 hardly flattered Liverpool, who were excellent throughout the second half, but the game will be remembered more for the bizarre hat trick of own goals than for the compelling performance the hosts produced in advancing to the quarterfinals. They'll face Stoke City at home in the next round.


2012 FA Cup Quarterfinal Draw: Big Names Avoid Each Other

We're not going to see a Chelsea vs. Spurs showdown just yet, but there's still compelling action in the FA Cup quarterfinals, headlined by Sunderland's visit to Goodison Park.


Stevenage Vs. Tottenham Hotspur, 2012 FA Cup: Spurs Held To 0-0 Draw

League One Stevenage put in a brave performance at home against high-flying Tottenham Hotspur, ultimately holding their visitors to a 0-0 draw. Spurs put out a weakened - but still very strong - side, and should have been expected to breeze past their lower-league opposition, but were thwarted by resolute defending, poor finishing and, on one occasion, the linesman's flag.

Stevenage weren't just sitting back for the whole match. Despite Tottenham dominating possession the hosts actually had more shots on goal, although it was the visitors who came closest to scoring in both halves. Kyle Walker should have at least hit the target when a Danny Rose cross found him three yards from goal, but the young defender flashed his header wide, and after the break Spurs were even more unfortunate not to have gone ahead when Louis Saha's scrambled effort hit an offside Scott Parker on the line and was ruled out for offside.

It was that kind of day for Spurs, who now have another game to add to their schedule. They'll still expect to advance, of course, so it's not the end of the world, but a 0-0 draw against Stevenage is not what they'd have been expecting when they made the trip today.


Crawley Town Vs. Stoke City, 2012 FA Cup: 10-Man Potters Advance

Crawley Town were handed what looked to be a huge boost against Premier League opposition Stoke City when the Potters went down to ten men in the first half, but they were seen off 2-0 anyway as they ultimately failed to take advantage of the many chances they were offered during the match.

The hosts had already hit the crossbar via the head of Stoke striker Peter Crouch when Rory Delap wiped out David Hunt on the halfway line just 17 minutes in, picking up a straight red card for his troubles. With the visitors down a man, Crawley were giving just as good as they were getting, but as the first half was drawing to a close Kyle McFadzean was penalised for fouling Ryan Shawcross in the area. Jonathan Walters happily fired in the spot kick to make it 1-0 to the Premier League team.

Crouch made it 2-0 shortly after the restart, nodding home a Glenn Whelan free kick, and despite Crawley looking fairly dangerous they simply couldn't get back into the match. Stoke now join Sunderland, Everton and Bolton Wanderers in the quarterfinals.


Sunderland Vs. Arsenal, 2012 FA Cup: Sunderland Advance With 2-0 Win

Arsenal's rough season has gotten a little bit worse. The Gunners had a very difficult draw in facing an in-form Sunderland team at the Stadium of Light, and it proved too much for a struggling team - they're now out of the FA Cup after a 2-0 loss.

In truth, the visitors started strongly. Arsenal were looking bright and quite dangerous in the early going, but were fatally undermined when Francis Coquelin departed with a hamstring injury, a move which forced professional liability Sebastian Squillaci into the heart of the Gunners defence. As soon as that happened, things started looking ugly, with Stephane Sessegnon and James McClean too much for Arsenal to handle.

The Gunners still had chances, of course - Gervinho had a shot kept out by Simon Mignolet after being played through by a masterful Robin van Persie pass - but Sunderland were looking more or less the better side, and deservedly went ahead just before halftime. Sebastian Larsson swung in a neat free kick, the ball was only half cleared, and Kieran Richardson slammed home past an unsighted Lukasz Fabianski via deflection off Squillaci.

More injuries struck in the second half, with both Aaron Ramsey and Squillaci substituted in the 53rd minute. Arsenal switched to a 4-4-2 at that point, but it didn't seem to help much. The hosts still had the upper hand and would capitalise once more before the game was done, with Sessegnon the catalyst.

The Benninese playmaker led a charge downfield, shrugging off Mikel Arteta and slipping the ball to Sebastian Larsson. The subsequent shot hit the post and bounced towards the middle of the goal. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who had just made a 70-yard run to try to relieve his defence, was also in the middle of the goal, but instead of clearing it his momentum took it over the line instead. Sunderland led 2-0, and although Arsenal had their chances to make up the deficit, they never really looked that likely to even nab the consolation.

It's another year without a trophy for Arsene Wenger, but for Sunderland, the quarterfinals await.


FA Cup Round 5: Everton, Bolton Advance; Norwich Upset By Leicester

Everton struck twice in the early stages of the first half to cruise to a 2-0 home win against Blackpool. Royston Drenthe got the start and rewarded David Moyes with an expertly taken finish in the very first minute, and then the Real Madrid outcast found Dennis Sracqualursi five minutes later with a corner kick to wrap up the match. Blackpool pushed hard to make it a real game, but couldn't even manage to get on the scoresheet. Kevin Phillips's missed penalty in second-half injury time didn't matter, but it would have been a nice consolation.

Elsewhere, Norwich City were upset by Leicester City at Carrow Road. The Foxes grabbed an early goal through Sean St. Ledger but the hosts fought back and won a dubious penalty when Mike Dean adjudged Kasper Schmeichel to have elbowed Elliott Bennett, a foul only Dean saw. Although the goalkeeper did well in saving the initial shot from Wes Hoolahan, the midfielder tucked in the rebound to bring the match up to level pegging. After the equaliser, the game looked there for the Canaries' taking. However, David Nugent gave them a shock, slicing through the Norwich defence and steering home in the 71st minute to get Leicester to the quarterfinals.

Millwall may have done a fantastic job against Southampton in the previous round, but they were no match for Bolton Wanderers. On-loan Ryo Miyaichi opened the scoring with a brilliant third-minute shot, and although the hosts were by and large able to keep the Trotters at arm's length, they didn't look much like scoring either. David N'gog sealed the 2-0 win in the second half with a nice long-range effort as Bolton and Owen Coyle advance to the quarterfinals.

Everton 2-0 Blackpool

Norwich City 1-2 Leicester City

Millwall 0-2 Bolton Wanderers


Chelsea Vs. Birmingham, 2012 FA Cup: 1-1 Draw Means A Replay At St. Andrews

Chelsea and Birmingham City drew 1-1 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon, forcing a replay of their FA Cup tie. David Murphy put the visitors ahead on 20 minutes, with Juan Mata missing a penalty just two minutes later. It was Daniel Sturridge that got the equalizer, but Andre Villas-Boas's men couldn't find that extra spark that would allow them to pull off a win.

The first twenty minutes of the match were a dull, scraggly affair. The Chelsea side simply wasn't clicking, displaying misplayed pass after misplayed pass. Birmingham made it difficult for the hosts to find their rhythm, but weren't exactly perfect when they tried to go forward, either. Things got worse for the visiting Blues when, not even fifteen minutes into the match, captain Stephen Carr was forced to limp off the pitch, not being able to shake off a mean tackle by Ryan Bertrand.

But it was Chelsea's defense that cracked -- and did so in a spectacular fashion. Having conceded a corner kick, the Chelsea players crowded around the near post. The ball dropped in, bounced around, and fell to Birmingham left-back Murphy, alone at the far post. While Chelsea were still trying to figure out where the ball had landed, Murphy bundled the ball past Petr Cech and into the back of the net.

Just two minutes later, the home side had their chance to equalize. Wade Elliott, in apparently a rash moment of panic, executed a sloppy challenge on Ramires as he entered the area, clipping the midfielder's knee. With Didier Drogba on the bench, it was Mata who stepped up to the spot. Mata placed his shot low and to the left, but Colin Doyle got a hand to it, pushing it into the post.

Despite a decent attempt by Sturridge, whose long-range shot grazed the top of Doyle's net, that's where the score stood at halftime, 1-0 to the visitors. Having just finished a rousing round of "Jose Mourinho", the Chelsea supporters sent their team into the locker room with a chorus of boos.

Andre Villas-Boas was left with no option but to replace Fernando Torres with Drogba at the break. And although the Ivorian might be one of those "old guard" that AVB prefers not to rely upon, but it's easy to see that the imposing forward still has the power to change the game -- and to lift the crowd. After Drogba managed to get behind the Birmingham defense twice in his first five minutes on the pitch, the mood at Stamford Bridge was much more hopeful.

Surprisingly, though, Drogba wasn't involved in the Chelsea goal. Branislav Ivanovic took the ball to the right corner flag before sending a perfect cross into the middle of the area. Sturridge climbed above the Birmingham defense to head the ball past Doyle and into the back of the net.

Birmingham barely looked interested in re-taking the lead. For a Championship club experiencing financial difficulties, perhaps risking a replay was more financially rewarding than grabbing the win? Their greatest effort in the second half came in the 87th minute, but Nathan Redmond's shot was easily stopped by Cech.

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