FA Cup Semi-finals

FA Cup Semi-finals

The FA Cup Semi-finals are played to determine which teams will contest the FA Cup Final. They are the penultimate phase of the FA Cup, the oldest football tournament in the world. The semi-finals are contested at neutral venues; in the past these have usually been the home grounds of teams not involved in that semi-final, such as Old Trafford in Manchester, Villa Park in Birmingham and Hillsborough in Sheffield. The 1991 semi-final between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur was the first to be played at Wembley, the traditional venue for the FA Cup Final. Two years later both semi-finals were held at Wembley after the Sheffield Wednesday/Sheffield United derby was switched from the original venue of Elland Road, Leeds, and this was repeated in 1994. From 1995 to 1999 and from 2001 to 2004 other neutral grounds were used, though in 2000 both matches were played at the old Wembley, in its final year of operation. In 2005 both semi-finals were played at the Millennium Stadium. However, in 2006 the FA decided to revert to the neutral ground system, with Old Trafford and Villa Park hosting the games. From 2008, mainly for financial reasons, all semi-finals will be played at the new Wembley Stadium.

In the past a replay match was played if the first semi-final ended in a draw. If the replay match also ended in a draw a second replay match would take place. In theory an infinite number of games could be played to determine the outcome of a tie. For example, in 1980 it took four games to decide the winner between Arsenal and Liverpool. This is the most games needed to settle an FA Cup Semi-Final, although there were several occasions where three games were played. However, in 1991 the FA decided that only one replay should be played (starting with the 1991-92 competition). If this game ended in a draw, extra time would be played, followed by penalty kicks if the match was still even. In 1999 it was decided that the semi-finals should be decided in one game, with extra time and penalties used to determine the outcome if the game ended in a draw (replays are still used in earlier rounds, however). The first of these came in the FA Cup Semi-Final in 1999 game at Villa Park between Manchester United and Arsenal. This turned out to become one of the most memorable semi-finals of all time, with a Ryan Giggs extra time goal deciding the outcome in Manchester United's favour. In 2003 this goal was voted the greatest ever in FA Cup history.

The 1989 semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough, Sheffield, turned into tragedy when 96 supporters were killed in the stands due to overcrowding. For more information on this, see the Hillsborough disaster.

Villa Park is the most used stadium in FA Cup semi–final history, having hosted 55 semi–finals.

Notes: Queen's Park chose not to contest the 1871-72 replay match with Wanderers. Also, there were no semi-finals played in the 1872-73 competition while between 1877-1881 only one semi-final was played.

The highest attendance for an FA Cup semi-final is 83,584 for Portsmouth's 1–0 win over West Bromwich Albion on 5 April 2008. [cite news
title=Nwanko Kanu repays Harry Redknapp’s faith in one moment
] It was the first semi-final to be played at the new Wembley Stadium.

List of FA Cup semi-finals

Semi Final record

Clubs by number of wins in the semi finals. Teams in "italics" no longer exist.

ee also

*FA Cup
*FA Cup Finals
*Hillsborough disaster


* [http://www.arsenal-world.co.uk/footydb/loadcups.asp?mtno=53&ssnno=1 FA Cup statistics]

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