Harry Maguire scores for Manchester United.

Norwich 1 Manchester United 2

Saturday 27 June 2020 20:11

Manchester United progress to the semi-finals of the Emirates FA Cup after eliminating Norwich City, in dramatic circumstances, on Saturday evening.

Harry Maguire grabbed the decisive goal in extra-time of the quarter-final tie in Norfolk, after Odion Ighalo and Norwich's Todd Cantwell netted during the 90 minutes.

It was a high-paced opening at Carrow Road and the first chance of note came courtesy of Jesse Lingard, whose shot was deflected wide for a corner in the seventh minute.

From the resulting set-piece, Tim Krul was forced to snatch at the ball just ahead of the on-rushing Ighalo.

Bruno Fernandes, one of just three players to retain their place from Wednesday’s 3-0 victory over Sheffield United, looked to be United’s most dangerous outlet in the early stages, but our no.18 was struggling to find gaps in the hosts' well-organised backline.

One of those defenders, Max Aarons, then tried his luck from distance, but the effort sailed high over Sergio Romero’s crossbar and was followed by the game’s first drinks break.

After the resumption, Norwich again blasted a shot high - this time from Kenny McLean - before Eric Bailly headed over from a corner at the other end.

Soon after, Scott McTominay saw his shot blocked, before Luke Shaw’s quick reactions then helped snuff out a counter-attack from Daniel Farke’s men.

It was Norwich who ended the half on top, but some resolute defending from Maguire stopped Lukas Rupp’s goal-bound attempt and, seconds later, he was again on hand to deny Emi Buendia’s strike.

Lingard fired over during injury-time to conclude an even first period in East Anglia, which produced few clear-cut opportunities for either side.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must have used some strong words during the interval because the Reds came flying out of the blocks in the second half. Within minutes, Fred’s chipped pass found Fernandes in the area, but the midfielder could not get his feet sorted in time to take the shot.

Thankfully, Ighalo didn’t have the same problem, a few moments later, as he broke the deadlock. Luke Shaw flew down the left wing and Juan Mata managed to get a deft flick on his cross, poking it into the Nigerian’s path.

It may not have been the cleanest finish of the 31-year-old’s career - in fact, replays showed it came off his ankle - but Ighalo did not care, as the delighted striker maintained his record of scoring in every game he’s started for the Reds by blasting past Krul.

United were enjoying themselves now, in a much more open contest, and Lingard forced Krul into a reaction stop, before the Dutchman hastily collected the ball ahead of Ighalo.

Norwich also looked dangerous and Maguire soon had to be on his toes to clear Aarons’s driven cross along the six-yard box.
The boss decided to change things in the 63rd minute and introduced Brandon Williams, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford from the bench.

The next chance came for Norwich, with Alex Tettey getting his head onto Buendia’s in-swinging free-kick. The ball then smacked off Ben Godfrey virtually on the line and deflected wide for a United goal-kick.

Norwich had grown into the second half after a slow opening and Cantwell equalised with 15 minutes remaining of normal time. The Canaries’ no.14 was slipped the ball by Buendia, before unleashing a piledriver from outside the area, that nestled in the bottom corner of the net.

Ole reacted by introducing substitutes Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba and the latter made an immediate impact by releasing Greenwood down the right flank. After a dizzying set of step-overs, the youngster’s effort flew just wide of the back post.

As the game entered the final 10 minutes, Romero punched away a dangerous Aarons cross, Buendia went close from distance and then Williams’s instinctive tackle stopped Onel Hernandez from having a one-on-one chance.

Despite that, the momentum changed in the 89th minute, when Tim Klose was dismissed by referee Jon Moss for hauling Ighalo down with the striker bearing down on goal, following a lovely flick by Fernandes.

The Portuguese midfielder’s subsequent free-kick then crashed off the wall, before Shaw fired a follow-up effort wide.

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United threw everything at Krul and co in the last few minutes and Rashford and Greenwood came close. However, with Ole’s men failing to find the back of the net, extra-time was required.

Against 10 men, the Reds looked to press home our advantage, with Pogba heading wide and then Rashford firing in an effort that tested Krul.

Ole threw Anthony Martial, the midweek hat-trick hero against Sheffield United, on as his sixth substitute to complement the already rich contingency of attacking resources on the pitch.

We continued to dominate proceedings and Pogba’s swerving effort forced a nervy stop from Krul, before Jamal Lewis stole the ball off Martial, with the Frenchman poised at the back post.

After the extra-time half-time break, it was Aarons’s turn to block a shot, this time from Rashford’s boot, and then Fernandes fired over from outside the area.

In 110th minute, Maguire looked to have sealed our passage to the semi-finals, but his crashing header was somehow tipped wide by Krul’s save - probably the Norwich keeper’s best of the evening. Minutes later, he was on hand to push Fernandes’s powerful strike past the post.

With penalties surely looming, our skipper popped up with the most timely of finishes right at the death as the relentless pressure finally told. He fastened onto Martial’s touch in the area and reacted quickest to the bouncing ball, before hooking it into the back of net. The strike wrapped up a 2-1 win and, to the relief of Solskjaer's charges, secured our spot in the last four of the FA Cup.

Norwich City: Krul; Aarons, Godfrey, Klose, Lewis (Idah 118); Rupp (Hernandez 62), Tettey (C), Cantwell (Trybull 90), McLean, Buendia (Duda 90), Pukki (Drmic 71).

Subs not used: McGovern, Vrancic, Leitner, Stiepermann.

Scorers: Cantwell 75.

Sent off: Klose 89.

United: Romero; Dalot (Williams 62), Bailly (Martial 96), Maguire (C), Shaw; McTominay (Matic 78), Fred (Pogba 78) ; Mata (Greenwood 63), Fernandes, Lingard (Rashford 63); Ighalo.

Subs not used: De Gea, Fosu-Mensah, Andreas.

Scorers: Ighalo 51, Maguire 118.

Booked: Fernandes 108.


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