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FA Cup thriller as Man United beats Liverpool 4-3 to ease pressure on Ten Hag

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — There’s still some fight left in Manchester United.

With the season hanging in the balance, Erik ten Hag’s team produced one of the most important wins of his tenure to beat Liverpool 4-3 after extra time in a thrilling FA Cup quarterfinal match on Sunday.

With nearly the last kick of the match, substitute Amad Diallo sent Old Trafford into raptures, ended Liverpool’s bid for a quadruple of trophies and fired United into the semifinals.

“Listen to the noise, you can tell what a big game it is,” said Marcus Rashford, who missed a golden chance to win it at the end of regulation but leveled for 3-3 in extra time. “I had to score that chance at the end ... but we got the job done and we have to get something out of this season."

Ten Hag has faced mounting speculation about his position in the face of a troubled campaign and restructuring at the club. The FA Cup represents his last chance of silverware this season, while Champions League qualification is in doubt with United sixth in the Premier League.

Defeat against the club's fiercest rival would likely have seen pressure on the Dutchman grow. TV cameras focused on new director Dave Brailsford as the clock ticked down with Liverpool leading 2-1 as the game approached 90 minutes.

Brailsford is part of the team overseeing United's soccer operations following British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe's recent investment in the club. He looked stone-faced with United seemingly headed out of the competition and Liverpool's away fans making the loudest noise.

Emotions changed drastically inside Old Trafford, however, when Antony equalized in the 87th to make the score 2-2. That set up a white-knuckle ride through to the first minute of stoppage time in extra time, with big chances missed and momentum swinging one way and then another until United's winner.

Ten Hag hopes it can be a turning point for his team.

“Every team needs its moment into a season and we never had that moment,” the United manager said. “This could be that moment where the team believe and (has) energy that we can do amazing things. I think when you can beat Liverpool the way we did, then you can beat any opponent.”

Twelve-time FA Cup winner United was later drawn against second-tier Coventry in the semifinals and defending champion Manchester City will play Chelsea, which beat Leicester 4-2 earlier Sunday.

The game had looked like going to a penalty shootout until Diallo fired low into the bottom corner to beat Caoimhin Kelleher following a late Liverpool corner.

The substitute was so caught up in the moment that he was shown a second yellow card and sent off for taking off his jersey during wild celebrations.

“It’s the best goal of my life, it’s a really important moment," he said. "I am disappointed to be sent off, but what is important is to win. To beat Liverpool is a big, big moment for me.”

United's pursuit of a top-four finish was also helped after fourth-place Aston Villa drew 1-1 at West Ham in the Premier League earlier in the day. Tottenham, in fifth, lost 3-0 at Fulham on Saturday.

Ten Hag's team is still nine points adrift of Villa, but has a game in hand, and perhaps momentum after such a morale-boosting win.

He described the opening 35 minutes of Sunday's match as the best his team had played all season.

Scott McTominay put United ahead in the 10th minute before goals from Alexis Mac Allister in the 44th and Mohamed Salah in the second minute of first-half stoppage time gave Liverpool the lead at the break.

After Antony leveled, Harvey Elliott hit the post for Liverpool and Rashford fired wide with only the 'keeper to beat with the final kick in regulation.

In extra time Elliott restored Liverpool's lead in the 105th and Rashford leveled for United seven minutes later.

Diallo's winner killed off Jurgen Klopp's hopes of winning four trophies before he steps down at the end of the season.

Liverpool has already won the League Cup, is second in the league and through to the quarterfinals of the Europa League.

“I think my boys showed incredible character again," Klopp said. “You cannot compare our season to United’s with the amount of games. It’s fine, we deal with it.”

CHELSEA’S REVENGE

Two goals in second-half stoppage time saw Chelsea book its place at Wembley and avenge its defeat to Leicester in the 2021 FA Cup final.

But Mauricio Pochettino’s team was given a scare against Leicester at Stamford Bridge.

Marc Cucurella and Cole Palmer put Chelsea 2-0 up in the first half, with Raheem Sterling also having a penalty saved by Jakub Stolarczyk. Leicester fought back after the break through a spectacular own-goal by Axel Disasi, who sent a long-range back pass without checking where his 'keeper was, and an equalizer from Stephy Mavididi.

With the game looking set to go to extra time, Chelsea struck twice through two substitutes.

Carney Chukwuemeka restored the Premier League team’s advantage after an assist from Palmer in the second minute of time added on. Noni Madueke scored a brilliant solo effort six minutes later to ensure the win and a semifinal spot.

Leicester beat Chelsea 1-0 in the final three years ago to win the trophy for the first time.

TOP FOUR

Nicolo Zaniolo’s goal in Sunday's only Premier League game could be crucial in the battle to qualify for the Champions League.

Having been routed 4-0 by Tottenham last week, Aston Villa, in fourth, trailed to Michail Antonio's header at West Ham. But Zaniolo’s second-half strike secured a 1-1 draw that moved Villa three points clear of Spurs, having played a game more.

Even then, Unai Emery’s team had to rely on VAR to rule out a a stoppage-time goal from Tomas Soucek for handball.

Depending on how English teams perform in Europe this season, the Premier League could be handed an extra Champions League spot, meaning fifth place would gain entry to next season’s competition.

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James Robson is at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson

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AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer