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Arsenal beats Man United 2-1 to reach FA Cup semifinals

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Danny Welbeck scored a tiebreaking goal against his old club in the 61st minute, helping defending champion Arsenal beat Manchester United 2-1 Monday night and advance to the FA Cup semifinals.

Nacho Monreal put the Gunners ahead in the 25th minute, but Wayne Rooney tied the score four minutes later with a diving header.

Welbeck, obtained from United on transfer deadline day last summer, pounced on Antonio Valencia’s poor backpass, rounded goalkeeper David De Gea, slotted the ball into an empty net and celebrated by clenching his fists.

“You always want to do well when you play against your former club, to show you are a great player,” said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who added that he chose to start Welbeck for “psychological considerations.”

United’s Angel Di Maria was ejected in the 77th minute for two yellow cards, one for diving and the other moments later for tugging referee Michael Oliver’s shirt in protest.

“I know, of course, and also Angel Di Maria knows that he doesn’t have to touch the referee,” United manager Louis Van Gaal said, “so that is not so smart of him. But to control emotion is not so easy in such a match.”

Arsenal joined Aston Villa in the last four. The Bradford-Reading and Liverpool-Blackburn quarterfinals ended 0-0, forcing replays.

It was a rare start up front for Welbeck, who has had a mixed first season for Arsenal since his move for 16 million pounds (then $26.5 million). Welbeck, who had been at United from the age of 8, was applauded by most of the home fans when he was substituted in the 74th.

Van Gaal said last summer that Welbeck wasn’t up to the standard of the club’s forwards.

“It was a surprise that Wenger put him in the lineup in that position,” Van Gaal said. “Also, a lot of times against the club who a player was playing for, he shall be very motivated. But I think we gave that goal particularly.”

ITALY

Paul Pogba produced a spectacular late strike as Juventus beat visiting Sassuolo 1-0 to extend its lead in Serie A to 11 points, ending a two-match winless streak for the hosts.

Juventus drew 1-1 with second-place Roma in its last league match then was beaten 2-1 at home by Fiorentina in the first leg of the Italian Cup semifinals last week.

It looked like the three-time defending champion was in for another disappointing night until Pogba broke the deadlock with his first goal since January.

In the 82nd minute at the Juventus Stadium, Pogba took a pass from Simone Pepe, used one touch to control the bouncing ball, then pounded it into the net from beyond the penalty area with his next touch.

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