Stand-in Jones guides Reds to FA Cup final


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    Liverpool’s progression to the FA Cup final is a bittersweet result for goalkeeper Brad Jones who helped his side overcome Everton but is unlikely to line-up for the ultimate fixture.

    The Australian caretaker keeper had six saves during the Reds’ 2-1 victory over Everton at Wembley on Saturday, after being called up for duty a week earlier.

    The 30-year-old donned the No.1 jersey after the suspension of Pepe Reina and Alexander Doni, who will be off suspension for the May 5 final.

    “I might not play in the FA Cup final … but I’m just proud to be a part of it,” Jones said shortly after the match.

    Perth-born Jones, who lost his five-year-old son Luca to leukaemia in November, was emotional after Saturday’s win, hugging his teammates and also embracing Everton players including countryman Tim Cahill.

    “Heartbroken and so sad we couldn’t win today. We win together and we lose together,” Cahill posted on Twitter shortly after the match.

    The loss was hard to take for the 32-year-old as the successful completion of an FA Cup finals campaign eluded him for a third time.

    The Sydney-born midfielder had been in a Cup runners-up team twice: in 2004 with former club Millwall and again in 2009 with Everton.

    Early in Saturday’s match it looked good for the Toffees.

    They went to the break with a 1-0 lead after Cahill assisted a close-range shot by Nikica Jelavic in the 23rd minute which beat Jones.

    The Reds’ equaliser came in the 61st minute from man-of-the-match Luis Suarez.

    Everton had the next chance but a shot by Leon Osman in the 76th minute was saved by Jones before his men took the lead with a dramatic headed goal from Andy Carroll.

    The much-maligned Carroll glanced in a Craig Bellamy free-kick in the 87th minute to keep Liverpool on course for a domestic cup double.

    Everton were unable to find the net during four minutes of extra time, leaving the Liverpool half of the near-capacity crowd ecstatic.

    The Reds will meet the winner of Sunday’s semi-final (3am Monday AEST) between Chelsea and Tottenham at Wembley on May 5.

    © AAP 2018

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