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Football | FA Cup

Demba Ba © Action Images

Ba boost for FA Cup semifinalists Blues

Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez has revealed that he expects striker Demba Ba to return to fitness in time for Sunday's FA Cup semifinal with Manchester City at Wembley Stadium.

The 27-year-old Senegal international, whose goal sank Manchester United in the quarterfinals, had to go off at halftime of Chelsea's 2-1 win over Sunderland last weekend after injuring his ankle following a challenge by Craig Gardner.

Ba, who is cup-tied for Thursday's Europa League quarterfinal second leg away to Russian side Rubin Kazan, did not train with the rest of the Chelsea squad on Tuesday, but Benitez said he should be fit to face City.

"Demba Ba did not train today, just as a precaution," Benitez said.

"It's not too serious. He will not go to Moscow. Hopefully he can train here and be OK for the weekend."

Meanwhile, Gardner has accused Ba of play-acting over the incident at Stamford Bridge last Sunday.

The Sunderland midfielder was booked for the 10th time this season for his challenge on Ba, automatically triggering a two-match suspension that rules him out of this weekend's northeast derby against Newcastle United.

"It was a fair tackle. He's just rolled around and forced the booking," Gardner told regional newspaper The Journal.


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