MANCHESTER, England — Manchester United secured a record 31st FA Cup semi-final appearance with a dramatic 3-1 win over Fulham at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Fulham looked on its way to making an impact when Alejandro Mitrovic put the visitors ahead early in the second half before referee Chris Kavanagh handed the London team three red cards during a chaotic five-minute period. Willian was ejected for a handball on the line, which gave Bruno Fernandes the chance to equalize from the penalty spot, while Marco Silva and Mitrovic received red cards for their protests.
– Report: Man United beat nine-man Fulham to reach FA Cup semi-final
United used their two-man advantage to score again just 90 seconds later for Marcel Sabitzerwith Fernandes adding a third safety in stoppage time to set up a Wembley semi-final against Brighton.
1. The game turns in United’s favor once Fulham lose their cool
Fulham deserved their lead when Mitrovic put them ahead early in the second half, but the game was turned upside down by serious misconduct just as an FA Cup upset appeared to be in the making.
When Willian blocked Jadon Sancho’s shot on the line, VAR manager Neil Swarbrick sent Kavanagh to the pitch monitor to review the incident. But before he could even see an answer, he had to send off Silva for his protests on the touchline and then, after deciding that Willian had deliberately stopped Sancho’s effort with his hand, awarded a penalty and showed another red card. to Willian. Kavanagh’s card was barely in his pocket when Mitrovic charged at him, turning it into a hat-trick of red cards in a matter of minutes.
Fernandes scored the penalty to make it 1-1 and two minutes later Fulham, playing with nine men and no manager, conceded again when Sabitzer converted Luke Shaw’s cross.
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The visitors seemed in control for most of the first 70 minutes, but missed out on an FA Cup semi-final due to their lack of discipline. Even with 10 men and tied 1-1, there was a chance they could get through, but Mitrovic, in particular, ended any hope of that by seeing red.
2. Man United survive without casemirobut only
If there was any doubt about Casemiro’s importance to this United team, there shouldn’t be now. Serving the first game of his four-game ban following his red card against Southampton, the hole in midfield was obvious from the first minute as Fulham dominated the start of both halves.
It came as a surprise that Erik ten Hag chose both Sabitzer and Scott McTominay Upon leaving Fred On the bench. Sabitzer and McTominay haven’t had much football of late, and looked rusty against the Fulham midfield three of Andreas PereiraJoao Palhinha and reed harrison. Pereira, who moved from United to Fulham in the summer, saw a lot of the ball in the spaces that Casemiro would have occupied, and United also seemed to miss the Brazilian’s calm when he tried to play from behind.
There was more than one occasion in the second part in which harry maguire it took forever to get the ball through to midfield due to a lack of options, and the match could have had a different outcome if Fulham hadn’t imploded. Casemiro will also miss Premier League matches against Newcastle, Brentford and Everton before he returns and Ten Hag will have to rethink how best to manage without him.
3. Ten Hag’s cup decisions pay off
It would have been easy for Ten Hag to decide at the start of his first season in charge that he would prioritize a quick return to the Champions League, but he has fielded strong teams in cup competitions and oversaw 10 consecutive wins at the Carabao. Cup and FA Cup. Victory over Fulham means United are two games away from a domestic cup double, something even Sir Alex Ferguson failed to achieve. They are also still alive in the Europa League despite a grueling campaign that has already included 10 games and could still mean five more.
Ten Hag says his goal since coming to Old Trafford has been to establish a “winning culture” and that manifests in a genuine effort to win every game, regardless of the competition. He has managed his squad so well that United are on course to finish comfortably in the top four and qualify for the Champions League while collecting trophies. The Carabao Cup is already in the bag and Brighton stands in the way of a first FA Cup final since 2018.
Ten Hag has been brave with his team’s teams in national cups and it has paid off.
Best and worst performers
– David De Gea, Manchester United goalkeeper: The Spaniard kept United with key saves ahead of Fulham’s insane five minutes.
– anthonyFW, United Man: He came on early in the second half and helped turn the game around in United’s favour.
– Harrison Reed, MF, Fulham: He caused United problems on his left and was key in Fulham’s good start.
– Aleksandar Mitrovic, ST, Fulham: He put Fulham in front, but his red card after the penalty incident cost his team any chance of winning the game.
– Harry Maguire, DF, Man United: Making back-to-back starts since August, he looked like a weak link in United’s defence.
-William, FW, Fulham: The Brazilian winger will regret his decision to handle Sancho’s shot on the line, a choice that triggered Fulham’s collapse.
Highlights and Highlights
That’s how you score at Old Trafford! Mitrovic put Fulham on the scoreboard first in this set piece play…
Mitrovic puts Fulham 1-0 ahead of Man United in the FA Cup! 😱 pic.twitter.com/j9pLwtULyE
— ESPNFC (@ESPNFC) March 19, 2023
… and then came the chaos! Willian’s handball on the goal line earned him an obvious red card, but Mitrovic and manager Marco Silva soon joined the Brazilian in the dressing room.
72′ – 🟥 Willian
72′ – 🟥Mitrovic
72′ – 🟥Marco Silva
FULHAM GOT A TRIPLE RED IN 60 SECONDS 😱 pic.twitter.com/gCITmlkl66
— ESPNFC (@ESPNFC) March 19, 2023
Playing against nine men would surely make Man United’s task easier, and two goals in two minutes quickly put them through to the FA Cup semi-finals.
TWO GOALS IN TWO MINUTES TO GIVE MAN UNITED THE FIRST TIME! 😮 pic.twitter.com/aapVSChl52
— ESPNFC (@ESPNFC) March 19, 2023
After the game: what the players/coaches had to say
“A massive victory. We wanted to go back to Wembley, we did it. The 1-0 down was tough and tough, but we came back and won it. We were focused, focused until the end. I think it was a deserved win. We came back and that’s the important thing “. — Marcel Sabitzer, Manchester United midfielder
“Let’s talk about the whole game and not a single moment. Until the penalty we were clearly the best team on the field, of course. The (red card) was a decision that can be made by VAR. What is difficult for us to understand is why the two moments in his area in the first part: one of them is a clear penalty for Mitrovic, and nobody controls, nobody wants to see anything… I would like to know what the referee will write (in his report) about what I told him. — Fulham manager Marco Silva
Key statistics (provided by ESPN Stats & Information)
– Aleksandar Mitrovic: Second goal in seven career games against Man United in all competitions (first since 2016 with Newcastle). Man United is the third of the Big Six clubs he has scored multiple goals against (two against Arsenal, two against Liverpool).
– Willian: third red card in his career in all competitions. It was the first with Chelsea since March 2014 and the first direct red card since April 2007 (Corinthians vs. Náutico)
– Aleksandar Mitrovic: eight career red cards in all competitions, all direct reds
– Bruno Fernandes scored his tenth goal of the season in all competitions. he joins Mark Rashford (27) as the only Manchester United players in double figures, and joins Lionel Messi as the only players in Europe’s top five leagues with at least 10 goals and 10 assists in each of the last three seasons (all competitions)
– Man United: seventh win this season in all competitions when trailing at any time. They have come back to win three of their last four games when trailing.
Until next time
manchester united: Ten Hag & Co. faces a busy week after the international break, with three league games in one week. First comes a trip to Newcastle (April 2) before back-to-back home games with Brentford (April 5) and Everton (April 8).
Fulham: After the break, the Cottagers travel to Bournemouth (April 1) in the Premier League before a home date with London’s West Ham on April 8.