Manchester United qualified for the UEFA Champions League semi-finals after beating Chelsea 2-1 at Old Trafford to go through 3-1 on aggregate.


Carlo Ancelotti’s mighty gamble on Fernando Torres backfired as Chelsea crashed out to place a massive question mark over his future as Blues boss.

As Sir Alex Ferguson has noted, Roman Abramovich is obsessed by winning this competition.

As the Russian was in the directors’ box, looking down as United emerged triumphant, Javier Hernandez and Park Ji-sung finding the net either side of half-time, it can only be concluded he is not a happy man.

And with Ancelotti insisting he is under no pressure to play Torres, who began the game but was replaced at half-time by Didier Drogba, the only conclusion to be reached is that he will carry the can for what was so obviously a gross selection error.

While Torres has now failed to score in 11 Chelsea games, Drogba continues to look a threat.

He was the man who briefly threatened to derail United after Ramires was sent off.

It was a false dawn. Chelsea is staring down the barrel of a trophyless season and Ancelotti will be in the firing line if Abramovich decides to pull the trigger.

Barcelona meanwhile defeated Shakhtar Donetsk 1-0 to progress 6-1 on aggregate and set up a probable showdown with arch-rival Real Madrid after completing home and away victories.

Leading 5-1 from last week’s quarter-final, first leg at the Nou Camp, Barca weathered an early storm at the Donbass Arena before netting what would prove to be the only goal of the night through Lionel Messi just before half-time.

That was the FIFA Ballon d’Or winner’s 48th competitive goal of what has been an incredible season and ensured there would be no slip-up by Pep Guardiola’s side, which will meet Madrid in the last four unless Tottenham Hotspur can overhaul a 4-0 deficit.

The result was also the ideal preparation for Barca ahead of this weekend’s ‘El Clasico’ against Madrid at the Bernabeu, where the Catalan club defends an eight-point lead at the top of the Primera Division standings.