Report: United 3 West Ham 1
Manchester United are into the last eight of the Emirates FA Cup, following a 3-1 victory over West Ham United at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening.
After a relatively evenly matched first half, all of the action came in the second 45 minutes. Said Benrahma opened the scoring for the visitors, before Nayef Aguerd’s own-goal gave us a route back into the game.
With extra-time and penalties becoming a real possibility, Alejandro Garnacho’s 90th-minute strike gave us the lead, celebrated by players and the Stretford End alike. Fred scored in the last moments of the game to properly put the game to bed.
For the second time so far this season, Erik ten Hag’s men are into the quarter-finals of another competition.
Despite winning the Carabao Cup just four days ago, there looked to be no signs of hangover from Ten Hag’s men as we made an assured start to the game.
It would take just six minutes to carve out a clear effort on goal, with Marcel Sabitzer at the forefront of the action. His midfielder partner, Scott McTominay, picked up the ball down the right before playing it into Wout Weghorst, who laid it off to Sabitzer, but his fizzing shot was met well by West Ham keeper Alphonse Areola to deny us an early lead.
Weghorst came close to scoring his first goal at Old Trafford just after the 10-minute mark. Garnacho’s curling effort from the left forced a strong save from Areola, with Diogo Dalot playing the rebound into the path of our no.27 but, despite directing the ball in the direction of the goal, it looked set to be ruled offside regardless of what happened.
Our best chance of the closing stages of the first half arguably fell to McTominay after a well-worked free-kick from the Reds saw a ball lofted into the direction of Harry Maguire, who headed back across goal in the direction of the Scotland international. His volley – which looked as though it was goalbound – was headed away crucially by Tomas Soucek.
SECOND HALF – COMEBACK COMPLETE
The Reds started the second half well, camping out in the visitors' half in an attempt to carve out goalscoring opportunities. Our first chance fell to Antony, but his effort was tame and gathered comfortably by Areola. A few moments later, De Gea was forced into another huge save after Soucek rose above Lindelof to direct a header towards the bottom corner, but our shot-stopper scooped it away and the loose ball was cleared.
A sequence of intricate football almost resulted in a sublime goal from United. After emerging up the pitch with some one-touch play, most notably between Bruno Fernandes and Sabitzer, but the former couldn’t quite get a touch on the latter’s final ball to poke it home in front of the Stretford End.
Five minutes before the hour mark, and almost somewhat against the run of play, David Moyes’s side took the lead, albeit slightly controversially. The ball looked to have gone out of play, but Soucek was adjudged to have kept it in, and it eventually found its way to Benramha who curled a wonderful effort beyond De Gea and made it 1-0.
Our keeper was called upon again to make a vital save with momentum on West Ham’s side. Yet again, it was Antonio who he denied after the Hammers talisman skipped past Lisandro Martinez but couldn’t finish off the chance. With 20 minutes to go, it looked as though Casemiro had once again delivered the goods for Ten Hag when he headed home from a Fernandes free-kick, but, after VAR’s intervention, it was ruled out for offside.
Ten Hag’s players were firmly pressing inside the Hammers’ half for the remainder of the second half with the bit between our teeth. Despite peppering the goal, however, we were in need of that little bit of cutting edge to avoid extra-time and potentially penalties – and that is exactly what Garnacho delivered. The Reds youngster brought the ball down wonderfully, after Weghorst's attempt was blocked, before curling it into the bottom of a stranded Areola’s goal to give us the lead towards the end.
We didn’t stop there, though. After spending the entirety of added time attacking West Ham’s goal, second-half substitute Fred was on target, after more good work by Weghorst in winning the ball, to ensure safe passage into the quarter-finals of the competition. Yet another memorable comeback is complete for this resilient Reds side.
United: De Gea; Dalot, Maguire, Lindelof (Lindelof 58), Malacia; Sabitzer (Fred 86), McTominay (Casemiro 45); Antony (Rashford 58), Fernandes, Garnacho (Varane 90+2); Weghorst.
Unused substitutes: Heaton, Wan-Bissaka, Elanga, Pellistri.
Goals: Aguerd (og) 77, Garnacho 90, Fred 90+4.
Bookings: Maguire, McTominay.
West Ham: Areola; Johnson, Aguerd, Ogbonna, Emerson; Paqueta, Rice, Soucek; Benrahma, Fornals (Bowen 74); Antonio (Scamacca 56).
Unused substitutes: Anang, Cresswell, Kehrer, Downes, Simon-Swyer, Lanzini, Mubama.
Goals: Benrahma 54.