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Heroes and Villains: Cup magic continues and Sherwood inspires Villa

| 04.03.2015

It was certainly a sensational weekend of FA Cup clashes, with Tim Sherwood rallying his new team to glory, Yakubu rolling back the years to stun Derby County and poor defending costing Sunderland yet again. Check out who made our list of heroes and villains!

Cup magic
There was plenty of magic in this week’s set of fifth round encounters, with lower league sides causing upsets against Premier League giants. Championship outfit Blackburn Rovers hammered Mark Hughes’ Stoke City 4-1, with Josh King hitting a fantastic 20-minute hat-trick to help stun the Potters.

Elsewhere, League One Bradford City toppled Gus Poyet’s struggling Sunderland 2-0, with the bantams reaching their first quarter-final since 1976. On Valentine’s weekend, who said romance was dead?

Bradford are 66/1 with Coral to claim a historic FA Cup triumph this year.

Reading’s January signing and former top-flight hitman Yakubu came off the bench to score his first goal and secure a 2-1 victory for the Royals over Championship promotion hopefuls Derby County. Hal Robson-Kanu had given the visitors an advantage before Darren Bent netted his fifth strike in five games to level, before ‘the Yak’ fired Steve Clarke’s men into the quarter-finals.

Tim Sherwood
Newly appointed Aston Villa manager Sherwood watched his side take on Leicester City from the stands. However, after an inspirational half-time team talk, the former Tottenham boss saw his men transform their play and secure a place in this season’s quarter-final with a 2-1 triumph, thanks to strikes from Leonardo Bacuna and Scott Sinclair.

Morgan Amalfitano
West Ham United were thrashed 4-0 by top-flight relegation-strugglers West Bromwich Albion, as Sam Allardyce’s men crashed out of the cup. Attacking midfield maestro Amalfitano was introduced on the hour mark in a bid to revive the hapless Hammers, but instead was sent off for pushing old Baggies teammate Chris Brunt in the face, moments before Saido Berahino wrapped up proceedings with his side’s fourth goal.

John O’Shea
Gus Poyet’s men were hoping for further cup success to help banish their previous Premier League form, as a relegation battle looms large. However, only three minutes into Sunderland’s clash with Bradford, the visitors’ defensive frailties came flooding back.

Republic of Ireland international O’Shea failed to clear a cross and Billy Clarke’s subsequent shot deflected off the flat-footed centre back past Vito Mannone.

Alberto Moreno
Spanish wing back Moreno has had a lacklustre start to his career at Anfield, but he helped Liverpool reach the quarter-final as his side ran out 2-1 winners over Crystal Palace.

English duo Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge give the Reds a narrow victory, but during the returning striker’s famous dancing celebration, he was joined at Selhurst Park by an unlikely Spanish partner. Moreno’s moves were reminiscent of his past performances for Brendan Rodgers’ men, although they progress towards a possible eighth ever cup triumph.

Liverpool are 5/2 to go all the way and lift this season’s FA Cup trophy.



Lee Gormley

Lee joined the Coral team in 2014 after studying at Leeds Trinity University, having moved across the water from Ireland, and has plenty of industry experience from his time with various news outlets in both England and Northern Ireland. After graduating with a BA Honours degree in Sports Journalism, he has since become an important member of the talented sports desk, passionately covering boxing, football and snooker, among many other sports. Lee is also a massive Manchester United and Republic of Ireland fan, but curbs any bias during his work, and outside of his job can be found regularly taking part in sport himself, such as boxing, GAA and football.