Aston Villa advances to FA Cup semis in game marred by fan trouble
LONDON (AP) — Aston Villa's win over West Bromwich Albion in a heated FA Cup quarterfinal was marred by crowd trouble on Saturday, with seats thrown by visiting fans and home supporters invading the field during and after the game.
Five days after defeating West Brom to end a 12-match winless run in the Premier League, Villa beat its Midlands rival again in the cup thanks to second-half goals by Fabian Delph and Scott Sinclair in a 2-0 victory. Each side had a player sent off in the closing minutes.
There were worrying scenes toward the end of the derby match, as West Brom fans threw seats into the section of the crowd below them containing Villa supporters.
Some Villa supporters jumped over the hoardings and ran onto the pitch during stoppage time in premature celebration, before several hundred fans invaded the field of play as the final whistle sounded. Some Villa players were mobbed by supporters celebrating a huge win for the club, while other players from both teams scrambled to get off the field.
"It's disgraceful," West Brom manager Tony Pulis said. "We don't want to see those scenes. They've beaten us and for that to happen, that's just mindless idiots."
Delph said his captain's armband and left boot were removed, and that some fans "tried to kiss me and were biting me. It was scary."
Villa manager Tim Sherwood added: "You want to celebrate with the whole crowd. I don't think it's scary. It probably is for a West Brom player. Emotions are running very high after two wins and it's been a huge week for the football club."
In another FA Cup quarterfinal, third-tier Bradford's chances of playing at Wembley Stadium in the last four remain alive after drawing 0-0 at home to Reading, which is in the second tier.
Bradford's run to the latter stages has been the feel-good story of this season's competition, with the team having already eliminated Premier League sides Chelsea and Sunderland.
Liverpool hosts Blackburn on Sunday, and Manchester United is at home to Arsenal on Monday in the other quarterfinals.