Van Persie Late Goal Lifts Man United into Tie with West Ham
Robin Van Persie delivered once again for Premier League leader Manchester United, netting a crucial injury-time equalizer to help salvage a 2-2 tie with West Ham and keep alive the team's chances of advancing to the next round of the FA Cup at Upton Park.
Manchester United looked headed out of the FA Cup after James Collins scored twice in the 27th and 59th minute to cancel out an early goal from Tom Cleverley.
However, Van Persie broke the hearts of the West Ham supporters as he delivered a goal in injury time to set up a rematch at Old Trafford on Jan. 16.
Meanwhile, FA Cup defending champion Chelsea survived an early scare before scoring an emphatic 5-1 victory over Southampton to reach the fourth round of the tournament.
New recruit Demba Ba scored two goals just 24 hours after arriving from Newcastle in a transfer window deal while Frank Lampard added one to become Chelsea's joint-top FA Cup goal scorer in history and second on the club's all-time list in all competitions.
Lampard now has 193 goals for Chelsea, which leaves him tied with Kerry Dixon in second place on the club's all-time list behind Bobby Tambling, who scored 202.
Lampard is also tied with Tambling as Chelsea's all-time record FA Cup goalscorer with 25 goals apiece.
Southampton surprised Chelsea when striker Jay Rodriguez calmly and deftly kicked the ball past goalkeeper Ross Turnbull in the 25th minute.
However, Chelsea leveled the match in the 35th minute with Ba's first goal and took a 2-1 lead when Victor Moses drilled home a left-foot shot from inside the penalty area.
In other matches, Brighton & Hove Albion beat Newcastle United, 2-0; Crystal Palace settled for a scoreless draw with Stoke City; Tottenham Hotspur blanked Coventry City, 3-0; Wigan Athletic and AFC Bournemouth battled to a 1-1 draw just like Fulham and Blackpool;
Aston Villa edged Ipswich Town, 2-1; Huddersfield Town beat Charlton Athletic, 1-0;
Macclesfield Town beat Cardiff City, 2-1; Barnslet beat Burnley, 1-0; Manchester City blanked Watford, 3-0; Leicester City defeated Burton Albion, 2-0; Millwall downed Preston North End, 1-0; Derby County blanked Tranmere Rovers, 5-0;
Reading beat Crawley Town, 3-1; Aldershot Town beat Rotherham United, 3-1; Middlesbrough downed Hastings United, 4-1; Sheffield United blanked Oxford United, 3-0; Norwich City beat Peterborough United, 3-0 and Queens Park Rangers and West Bromwich Albion battled to a 1-1 tie.
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