Juan Mata celebrates his goal.

Manchester United 1 Wolves 0

Wednesday 15 January 2020 21:37

Man-of-the-moment Juan Mata was Manchester United’s Emirates FA Cup replay match-winner against Wolves at Old Trafford.

The Spanish midfielder scored the only goal of the tie in the second half to see United through to a fourth round match, away at either Tranmere Rovers or Watford, who had their replay postponed on Tuesday night.

Mata chipped a sublime finish in the second half after the Reds had suffered a shock in the first 45 minutes when Wolves appeared to open the scoring, through Pedro Neto, only for VAR to cancel it out and help set us up for eventual victory.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka saw a lot of the ball in the opening exchanges.

Mata started off on the front foot, carrying on where he left off, following his excellent performance against Norwich City. After three minutes, the Spaniard brilliantly threaded a ball through for Daniel James.

James flicked the ball past the on-rushing John Ruddy but the keeper managed to get a hand to the ball and steer it away from danger.

Old Trafford was stunned into initial silence in the 10th minute when Wolves had the ball in United’s net via Neto. The travelling contingent from the Midlands were the ones who were eventually silenced as their celebrations were cut short by VAR.

A handball by striker Raul Jimenez in the lead-up to the finish, when challenged by Harry Maguire, correctly cancelled the goal out, after Fred's errant pass struck team-mate Nemanja Matic.

Mata forced another save out of Ruddy but Wolves were still posting warnings to the Reds and Matt Doherty headed a Ruben Neves cross against a post, with the flag going up when Jimenez tried to pounce on the rebound.

Wolves warmed up at the side of the pitch before the start of the second half but it was United who got in the first efforts after the interval with a Mata shot being saved and a low flashing shot by James zipping just wide.

The manager made his first changes after 64 minutes when he brought on Marcus Rashford and Andreas Pereira for James and Mason Greenwood, and the breakthrough arrived soon afterwards, thanks to the in-form Mata.

Maguire defended well and his ball out bounced kindly for Martial, who eventually slipped the ball through to the Spaniard. It was a coolly dinked finish over Ruddy from the midfielder. The home support held its breath briefly as VAR took a look but there was no reason to scrub Mata’s first domestic goal of the season off.

Sadly for United, Rashford’s appearance only lasted quarter of an hour as he had to be substituted with an injury after 79 minutes. Although the England striker tried to shake up off the knock, Jesse Lingard came on in his place.

Wolves threatened a couple of times late on, Neves smashing one long-ranger just over the top and Traore remaining a nuisance with his pace and power, but Andreas forced another save out of Ruddy on the break as the Reds sealed a place in the fourth round, with Maguire particularly resolute at the back and Romero keeping yet another clean sheet.

Marcus Rashford's injury is a concern ahead of the Liverpool game.


United: Romero, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire (C), Williams, Matic, Fred, Greenwood (Andreas 64), Mata, James (Rashford 64 (Lingard 79), Martial.

Subs not used: Grant, Dalot, Jones, Chong. 

Goal: Mata 67

Fred, Maguire

Ruddy, Dendoncker, Coady (C), Saiss, Doherty, Neves, Moutinho, Jonny (Vinagre 74), Traore (Buur 87), Jimenez, Neto (Gibbs-White 71)

Subs not used:
Patricio, Bennett, Kilman, Ashley-Seal. 

Bookings: Neto, Dedoncker

Attendance: 67,025