The 6th-round trip to London looked like a tricky assignment for Sir Alex Ferguson’s all-conquering side. But they simply brushed the Cottagers aside with a supremely dominant display.
After an even opening spell United went ahead on 20 minutes when Carlos Tevez headed home at the back post from a corner. And 15 minutes later the Argentine doubled both his tally and United’s lead with a superb 25-yarder into the top corner of Mark Schwarzer’s net.
Five minutes after the interval the tie was over as a contest as Wayne Rooney curled a low right-footer past Schwarzer from the edge of the box. And Ji-Sung Park completed the rout nine minutes from time when he intercepted a loose Fulham pass before firing home from 20 yards out.
Earlier in the day Didier Drogba and Alex had earned Chelsea a place in the last four after a 2-0 win at Championship side Coventry. Guus Hiddink retained his 100% record as Chelsea coach as a goal in each half gave the Blues a reasonably comfortable passage into the semi-finals.
Drogba capitalised on some poor defending to give his side an early lead before Brazilian centre-half Alex popped up with 18 minutes remaining to seal victory.
Drogba fired just wide in the second minute after latching on to Petr Cech’s long clearance but the hosts’ defence failed to heed the warning and Coventry found themselves behind after a quarter of an hour.
Michael Turner and Scott Dann failed to deal with Jose Bosingwa’s hopeful hoist forward and Drogba capitalised on the centre-backs’ hesitation, rounding Kieron Westwood before firing home left-footed into the roof of the net.
Chelsea were dominant, but the hosts had their first sight of goal in the 25th minute, when Leon Best raced away from Alex and skipped inside John Terry before firing horribly high and wide.
Turner atoned for his part in Chelsea’s opener when he blocked Michael Ballack’s close range effort following Bosingwa’s cut-back before Westwood tipped over Lampard’s 30-yard free-kick 10 minutes before the break.
Michael Essien came off the bench midway through the second period for his first appearance since August and things got even better for Chelsea in the 72nd minute when they killed the tie with their second of the afternoon.
The Blues broke following a Coventry set-piece with devastating pace and substitute Ricardo Quaresma’s curled cross was slotted home by Alex, unchallenged in the middle of the hosts’ box.