Demba Ba sent Chelsea into the English FA Cup semifinals with a 1-0 victory over Manchester United on Monday in London. The quarterfinal replay was...

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Chelsea blanks Man U to reach

English FA Cup semifinal round

Demba Ba sent Chelsea into the English FA Cup semifinals with a 1-0 victory over Manchester United on Monday in London.

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The quarterfinal replay was decided four minutes into the second half when Ba hooked the ball over Man U goalkeeper David De Gea to set up a Wembley Stadium meeting with Manchester City on April 14.

Wigan faces Millwall in the other FA Cup semifinal, set for April 13 at Wembley.

There was little De Gea could do to keep out Ba’s winner.

Juan Mata lobbed a pass over the Manchester United defense and Ba raced past Rio Ferdinand and hooked a volley over De Gea while almost sideways in the air.

“It was a brilliant pass from Juan,” Ba said. “For Newcastle, I scored quite a similar goal against Man United. It reminded me of that.”

As it did United manager Alex Ferguson.

“We had the experience from Newcastle a couple of years back when he scored exactly the same type of goal,” Ferguson said. “We had to be aware of that movement and we were caught napping, to be honest.”

While Chelsea also has a Europa League quarterfinal match Thursday, Manchester United can win no trophies except for the Premier League, where it holds a seemingly insurmountable 15-point lead.

United was denied an equalizer on Petr Cech’s stunning one-handed save to block Javier Hernandez’s close-range diving header. That save even had Hernandez congratulating the goalkeeper.

Chelsea is seeking its fifth FA Cup title in seven seasons.

Di Canio says he isn’t a racist

Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio and executives for the English Premier League team have strongly rebutted suggestions he is a racist after a team official, vice chairman David Miliband, quit in protest of the Italian’s past support of fascism.

Di Canio, 44, was fined and condemned by FIFA in 2005 for performing a straight-arm salute, adopted by the Italian Fascist regime in the early 20th century, and saying: “I am a fascist, not a racist.”

College football

UCLA spring ball starts Tuesday

UCLA, under the guidance of ex-Seahawks coach Jim Mora, went 9-5 last season but ended with a three-game losing streak, including a 49-26 beating from Baylor in the Holiday Bowl.

UCLA begins spring practice Tuesday.

“The destination is still far out there,” the 51-year-old Mora said. “I like the excitement that was generated last year, but nobody was satisfied with how the season ended.”

The Bruins should have plenty of motivation.

“When we played Baylor, quite frankly, they were a more physical team,” Mora said. “That night stuck in everyone’s craw. Bad night, great lesson.”

Conference USA has a new look

Conference USA will add Western Kentucky, with new coach Bobby Petrino, at the same time Tulsa plans to exit.

Commissioner Britton Banowsky said Western Kentucky will officially join C-USA on July 1, 2014. That will be after former Arkansas coach Petrino’s first season in charge of the Hilltoppers.

That is also when Tulsa, the defending C-USA champion, is expected to join a migration to the conference that will no longer be known as the Big East. A person familiar with the decision said Tulsa was planning to announce this week it will join the Big East football schools in their soon-to-be renamed conference in 2014. The source spoke on condition of anonymity because an announcement had not been made.

When Western Kentucky officially moves, it will be the fifth school in about a year to switch from the Sun Belt Conference to C-USA.

Michigan backup QB is injured

Michigan backup quarterback Russell Bellomy suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in one of his knees during practice Friday and is out indefinitely, coach Brady Hoke said.

Devin Gardner is Michigan’s starting quarterback.


Shanghai Bobby, voted 2012 North American champion 2-year-old male, will not run in the May 4 Kentucky Derby because his energy level isn’t where trainer Todd Pletcher thinks it should be.

The colt, who finished fifth at 2-1 odds in Saturday’s Florida Derby won by Orb, will be given time off.

Manny Pacquiao might meet an old opponent in a new place in September.

Boxing promoter Bob Arum said he is trying to put together a fifth fight between Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez and shopping it to casinos in Macau and Singapore.

The first four Pacquiao-Marquez bouts were in Las Vegas, with Pacquiao winning three.

Seattle Times news services