Manchester United 4 v Newcastle United 1
Millenium Stadium, Cardiff
Sunday 17th April
Manchester United players rallied at Roy Keane's call following their disasterous performance against Norwich last weekend.
With the FA Cup holding the only realistic hope of a trophy this season, it was imperative that the Reds got off to a great start, especially because a win would lead to a match up of two of the Premiership's biggest clubs - Arsenal and Man Utd.
It was typically Ruud van Nistelrooy who opened the scoring, on 19 minutes. The ball was crossed in from the right hand-side by Ronaldo, who had one of his brilliant cameo performances, and the great Dutchman didn't even have time to think, instinctively striking out at the ball, and guiding it past Shay Given on the turn. Queue a massive release of all the frustrations that Ruud has had over the past few weeks.
More shots fired in, and Newcastle barely had a look in, with Nicky Butt playing poorly against his former club. Just before half-time the goal that effectively killed the tie came, courtesy of Paul Scholes' head.
Another Ronaldo cross met Scholes' bullet-header, and they were two up with just a confidence-crushing minute to go until the break.
If people expected the Mags to rally, they were sincerely disappointed, as Man United continued to hold possession and the greater
On 58 minutes Van Nistelrooy was released by Rooney, allowing him to chip effectively over Given.
Immediatley Newcastle responded, with Ameobi pushing the ball through Howard's legs. But it was a case of too little too late, as Man United moved three ahead once more with an emphatic finish from Ronaldo.
Game, set and match, and an FA Cup Final date.
Newcastle: Given, Carr, Boumsong, Taylor, Babayaro (Andrew O'Brien 45), Milner (Kluivert 63), Faye (N'Zogbia 45), Butt, Robert, Ameobi,
Subs Not Used: Harper, Ambrose.
Booked: Milner, Robert.
Goals: Ameobi 59.
Man Utd: Howard, Gary Neville, Brown, Ferdinand, Heinze, Ronaldo (Smith 78), Keane, Scholes (Fletcher 78), Fortune, Rooney (Giggs 78), Van
Subs Not Used: Carroll, Silvestre.
Booked: Ronaldo, Brown, Heinze.
Goals: Van Nistelrooy 19, Scholes 45, van Nistelrooy 58, Ronaldo 76.
Ref: M Riley (W Yorkshire).