United 1 Middlesbrough 1 (7-8 on penalties)
Manchester United were eliminated from the Emirates FA Cup after losing 8-7 on penalties to Middlesbrough, following a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.
The Reds went in ahead at the break, after Jadon Sancho clinically finished Bruno Fernandes's pass to reward Ralf Rangnick's side for our early pressure.
However, after the visitors controversially equalised in the second half, to force extra-time and penalties, Chris Wilder's side ultimately edged the penalty shoot-out to progress to the fifth round.
FIRST HALF- Returning Reds make the difference
United were almost ahead within just two minutes, when a defensive mix-up for the visitors led to a clipped effort from Sancho, which looped over Joe Lumley and struck the crossbar, before Fernandes fired over the rebound.
Just five minutes later, Ronaldo’s audacious acrobatic effort stung the palms of Lumley, as United continued to pressure the Championship side. The Reds thought we had been rewarded for their bright start, when the returning Paul Pogba was fouled by Anfernee Dijksteel, but Ronaldo fired the resulting penalty narrowly wide.
Ralf Rangnick’s side did break the deadlock on 25 minutes, when another returning Red, Sancho, was released down the left by Fernandes, before firing low into the far corner.
As the half progressed, United searched for a second, and Marcus Rashford thought he had it when he turned to fire into the back of the net, but the referee adjudged that the winger had strayed offside. Soon after, Fernandes, played Ronaldo through on goal, but the Portugal striker was denied by a brilliant save from Lumley.
Despite the Reds’ pressure, the visitors reminded a threat. Not long before half-time, a Middlesbrough counter-attack resulted in Folarin Balogun finding space on the left, but the forward's effort failed to trouble Dean Henderson.
SECOND HALF- Middlesbrough hit back
The start of the second period was more muted than the first, with the first chance coming after 54 minutes, when Sancho’s cross to the back post found Rashford, who fired over.
A minute later, Rashford was involved again, but when he broke down the right and pulled the ball back for Ronaldo, the striker could only find the side netting.
The visitors responded, and Henderson was forced to produce a strong save to deny Matt Crooks’ close-range effort from an Isaiah Jones lay off. And just after the hour mark, Middlesbrough were level; Crooks finishing into an empty net after substitute Duncan Watmore ghosted beyond the United defence and lofted the ball over Henderson. Despite appeals for a handball by Watmore, the goal was allowed to stand.
But despite an impressive performance, the Middlesbrough keeper almost gifted United a goal when, under pressure from Ronaldo, he gave possession to Fernandes, whose low strike rebounded back off the post.
As normal time neared the end, the Reds continued to search for a winner. With a minute to go, substitutes Fred and Anthony Elanga combined, but the latter could only guide his header wide of the post.
Moments later, the same combination unpicked the Middlesbrough defence, but this time Elanga’s header was held well by Lumley.
EXTRA TIME- No breakthrough
Both teams cancelled each other out in extra-time, with Fred going close for United, before Henderson produced a terrific close range save to keep the sides level. Anthony Elanga had a couple of headers from dangerous positions but there were no further goals.
Middlesbrough edged a competitive penalty shoot-out 8-7, after Elanga's spot-kick flew agonisingly over the bar to leave the Reds out of the competition.
United: Henderson; Dalot, Varane (Jones 91), Maguire (c), Shaw; McTominay, Fernandes, Pogba (Fred 82); Sancho (Mata 100), Ronaldo, Rashford (Elanga 82).
Subs not used: Heaton, Grant, Wan-Bissaka, Hannibal, Matic.
Goals: Sancho 25.
Bookings: Pogba 42.
Middlesbrough: Lumley; Dijksteel, Fry, McNair; Jones (Bamba 118), Crooks (Payero 78), Howson (c), Tavernier, Taylor (Peltier 91); Balogun (Watmore 61), Sporar (Connolly 91).
Subs not used: Daniels, Hall, Wood, Coburn.
Goals: Crooks 64.
Bookings: Tavernier 71.