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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Cantona Boots United Into Semifinals

COMBINED REPORTS


MANCHESTER, England -- Frenchman Eric Cantona scored one goal and set up another as Manchester United edged closer to a third successive English FA Cup final with a 2-0 quarterfinals victory over Southampton.


But United, which now plays the winner of the replay between Chelsea and Wimbledon in the semifinal at Aston Villa's ground on March 31, was made to fight all the way by its lowly Premier League rival.


Southampton had one goal disallowed and forced United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel to make several fine saves. Southampton was looking for a third shock cup victory over United, having beaten them in the 1976 final and in a fourth round replay four years ago -- the last time United lost a tie at Old Trafford.


Neil Shipperley headed what appeared to be a legitimate goal for Southampton from Matthew Oakley's cross -- but to United's relief, the goal was ruled out for a push by Shipperley.


The home side ensured victory in the second minute of injury time. With Southampton committed to attack, United swept upfield for Cantona to lay-on an easy chance for Lee Sharpe to score from point-blank range.


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Italian soccer players called a strike Monday for the next round of matches in a protest to seek more say in how the sport is governed.


The weekend strike is led by players in Serie A, the Italian League's premier division, but players from the two lower divisions are expected to follow.


The players last month announced their intention to strike March 17 and talks broke down Monday.


The main issues appear to be retirement funds, regulations that would limit foreigner players and a stronger voice in soccer federation decisions.


"Contrary to past threats, this time we don't see a quick resolution,'' said Juventus forward Gianluca Vialli.


It would be the first time labor strife canceled Serie A soccer in Italy, where the game is followed passionately.


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According to leading international football official Sepp Blatter, England still leads the world in one aspect of soccer -- having fun.


Many countries could learn much from the attitude of players on the pitch, International Football Federation general secretary Blatter said, in a rather backhanded compliment.


"Apart from the lack of technical sophistication, one of the most striking things in matches in England is the huge but fair commitment," Blatter wrote in a column for the German soccer magazine Kicker on Monday.


"The players share jokes with each other, with the referee, with the fans and even with the police." ()