Sir Alex Ferguson hails Edwin van der Sar role in FA Cup win

Manchester United boss heaps praise on veteran goalkeeper as his side beat Arsenal to reach semi-finals

Martin Caparrotta
By Martin Caparrotta
FA CUP SIXTH ROUND, 12 MARCH 2011, OLD TRAFFORD
team1
Man United
Fábio (28) Rooney (49)
2 – 0
team2
Arsenal

Sir Alex Ferguson admits goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar played a pivotal role in helping his Manchester United side overcome Arsenal to reach the FA Cup semi-finals.

Fábio da Silva put the home side ahead after 28 minutes when he pounced on a loose ball after Manuel Almunia could only parry Javier Hernández’s effort and Wayne Rooney struck early in the second half with a well-executed header to book United’s place at Wembley.

Man-of-the-match Van der Sar produced some vital saves to keep the Londoners at bay throughout the sixth-round tie at Old Trafford, and Ferguson hailed his display after the match.

“Edwin was fantastic,” said Ferguson. “He made a mistake last week [at Liverpool] and dropped a goal but he’s more than repaid us in full today.

“It’s not just his ability as a goalkeeper, it’s his calmness he brings to everyone – that’s a vital ingredient he has.”

Arsene Wenger’s side were unable to find a way past the Dutchman despite dominating possession for long spells, with captain Robin van Persie and substitute Marouane Chamakh both guilty of spurning glorious opportunities for the Gunners.

And Ferguson, who was looking for a response from his side after consecutive league defeats, believes the speed of United’s breaks troubled the Arsenal rearguard and ultimately proved the decisive factor in a closely-contested encounter.

“It was a massive game for both clubs in a fixture that is always going to be intense,” he continued.

“In fairness Arsenal played their part in the game but I thought in the second half in particular we played well. It was always going to be a tough tie so we are very pleased.

“They did have a few good chances and Edwin van der Sar has made some spectacular saves, but we missed a few very good opportunities ourselves so at the end of the day there wasn’t too much in it.

“Arsenal probably had more of the chances if I’m being fair, but we were always a threat, especially after the break.”

Meanwhile, a bad afternoon was made worse for Arsenal boss Wenger when Johan Djourou was ruled out for the rest of the season after dislocating his shoulder late on in Saturday’s clash.

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