Benitez accuses Ferguson of snubbing attemptto shake hands before start of FA Cup semi-final
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 10: Ramires (l) of Chelsea celebrates scoring his teaam's second goal with team-mates Cesar Azpilicueta and Juan Mata (r) during the FA Cup sponsored by Budweiser Sixth Round match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford on March 10, 2013 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez accused Sir Alex Ferguson of spurning his attempt to shake hands before the start of the FA Cup semi-final at Old Trafford.
Benitez claimed he was waiting to shake hands with the Manchester United boss but Ferguson walked past him without doing so.
“I was waiting at the beginning. It’s up to him, I was in the way waiting,” said the Chelsea interim manager.
Asked why Ferguson might have done so, Benitez replied: “Ask him if you are brave enough ask him. It was his decision . . . I know a lot of people are watching so I know what I have to do.”
Benitez did not attempt to shake Ferguson’s hand after the conclusion of the match, in which his side come from 2-0 down to draw 2-2.
The Spaniard explained his action by saying: “I was with my players celebrating.”
Juan Mata was proud of Chelsea’s comeback and backed home advantage to see them through the replay.
United led 2-0 after 11 minutes, through Javier Hernandez and the recalled Wayne Rooney, but Chelsea roared back in the second half.
Goals from substitute Eden Hazard and Ramires levelled the match at 2-2 and the inspirational Mata was only denied a late winner by fellow Spaniard David de Gea’s superb reaction save.
“We were playing in a stadium like Old Trafford and it was Man United, so it could be a good result,” said Mata.
“It’s a day to be proud of the team. [United] scored two in the first minutes but we tried very hard and came back. We have a replay at home . . . and we will try to get through.”
Manchester City will play either city rivals Manchester United or fellow Barclays Premier League giants Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-finals.
The draw, conducted at Wembley immediately after United’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea at Old Trafford, pitched the eventual winners of the replay against City.
Millwall and Blackburn also drew earlier in the day and will replay on Wednesday, with the winner to face Wigan.
The semi-finals will be played at the national stadium over the weekend of April 13th and 14th.