United threatens Shearer's cup dream

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The Independent Football

The FA Cup holders Manchester United must overcome in-form Newcastle if they are to feature in this year's FA Cup final.

The FA Cup holders Manchester United must overcome in-form Newcastle if they are to feature in this year's FA Cup final.

They were paired together in today's draw at Soho Square.

The Newcastle captain Alan Shearer has vowed to retire at the end of the season, and he now comes up against the club who wanted to sign him earlier in his career.

Shearer turned down the chance to play for United, the 11-times cup winners, and has yet to win any trophy since joining Newcastle in a £15million deal from Blackburn in 1996.

The other semi-final sees Arsenal face Blackburn, with Rovers' quarter-final matchwinner Paul Dickov looking to knock out his former club.

Both semi-finals will be played at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium, also the venue for the final, on the weekend of 16-17 April.

Sir Alex Ferguson's Red Devils were the most convincing winners in the quarter-finals, beating Southampton 4-0 at St Mary's on Saturday.

Arsenal, Newcastle and Blackburn each won by 1-0 margins - against Bolton, Tottenham and Leicester respectively.

With United and Arsenal both out of Europe, and lagging behind Chelsea in the Barclays Premiership, the FA Cup represents their best chance of silverware this season.

Newcastle also have the UEFA Cup to play for, while Blackburn are not yet safe from the threat of relegation.



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