Paul Pogba.

Report: Leicester 3 United 1

Sunday 21 March 2021 18:50

Manchester United's Emirates FA Cup run sadly came to an end at the quarter-final stage as Leicester City ran out 3-1 winners at the King Power Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The Reds got off to the worst possible start when Fred's short pass back to Dean Henderson was pounced upon by Kelechi Iheanacho.

Mason Greenwood fired United level before half-time when he drilled home after nice work from Paul Pogba and Donny van de Beek.

However, Youri Tielemans restored the hosts' lead with a fine solo run and finish, before Iheanacho headed home unmarked to seal the win for Brendan Rodgers's men.

FIRST HALF - ALL SQUARE

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sprang a few surprises with his line-up as the recently injured Anthony Martial and Edinson Cavani were named in the squad to boost our firepower. There were five changes, in all, from the team that won so brilliantly in Milan with Martial making the starting XI, in place of the injured Marcus Rashford, while Cavani was fit enough for the bench. Two other players who have recently recovered from spells on the treatment table, Donny van de Beek and, our matchwinner in Milan, Pogba, were also named in the side, coming in for Scott McTominay and Bruno Fernandes. Nemanja Matic and Alex Telles were the other additions, replacing Daniel James and Luke Shaw.

The Reds started brightly, but it was the hosts who had the better of the clear-cut chances, the first of which arrived on 17 minutes when the ball came back to Jamie Vardy after his initial cross was blocked. Vardy took aim on the rebound and Henderson did well to palm the ball away.

Harry Maguire made another vital block as Vardy took aim soon after, when United lost possession in midfield. The same thing happened on 24 minutes and Leicester took full advantage. After Henderson rolled the ball to Maguire, he found Fred but his pass to Henderson was too short and Iheanacho pounced on it to round the keeper and slot home with ease.

Vardy continued to be the Foxes’ main threat and Aaron Wan-Bissaka covered brilliantly with Vardy almost in again after the Reds were dispossessed once more.

Seven minutes from the break, United produced our best move of the half and drew level. After working the ball out to Pogba on the left, our no.6 cleverly dropped the shoulder and rolled a cross into the box which was well left by van de Beek and Greenwood was behind him to blast home.

A Poga daisy-cutter which Kasper Schmeichel collected and an Ayoze Perez curled effort, which dropped wide, were the last main bits of action for the half as it ended honours even at the break.

SECOND HALF - FOXES GO THROUGH

The FA Cup semi-final draw was made at half-time, pairing the winners of this tie with Southampton at Wembley and thus avoiding Chelsea and Manchester City. You felt the news would act as further motivation for both teams but, unfortunately, it was the home side who made that count, seven minutes after the restart.

Tielemans played a one-two with Iheanacho before powering towards the area and shooting low into the bottom corner past the outstretched arm of Henderson.

United responded with a strong run from Greenwood into the box, before Telles fired wide. Leicester went straight down the other end and almost bagged a third as Vardy flicked the ball past Maguire to get himself through on goal but, thankfully, he dragged his shot past the near post.

Solskjaer made a quadruple change just after the hour-mark with Shaw, Fernandes, Cavani and McTominay all coming on.

The changes brought some extra possession for the Reds, but unfortunately we were undone at a set-piece, 12 minutes from time. Marc Albrighton’s free-kick from the left wing dropped over McTominay and onto the head of the unmarked Iheanacho at the back post and Henderson couldn’t keep his effort out.

It was a real uphill task now and Leicester held firm right to the very end, with Schmeichel making a great save from a Fernandes free-kick.

United now have a two-week pause from domestic and European action due to the first international break of 2021. Hard work and challenges still lie ahead in the Premier League and Europa League and the Reds will aim to bounce back from today's disappointment as quickly as possible. 

 

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MATCH DETAILS

Leicester City: Schmeichel (c), Fofana, Evans, Soyuncu, Albrighton, Ndidi, Tielemans, Castagne, Perez (Praet 73), Iheanacho, Vardy (Choudhury 83).

Subs not used: Ward, Daley-Campbell, Amartey, Fuchs, Thomas, Mendy, Leshabela.

Goals: Iheanacho 24,78, Tielemans 52

Booked: Albrighton, Evans

United: Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire (c), Telles (Shaw 64); Matic (Fernandes 64), Fred (Amad 84); Greenwood, van de Beek (Cavani 64), Pogba (McTominay 64); Martial.

Subs not used: De Gea, Tuanzebe, Williams, James.

Goal: Greenwood 38

Booked: Maguire, McTominay

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