Fresh from its sixth League Cup triumph over fellow English Premier League team Newcastle United last Sunday, Manchester United returned to Old Trafford for a FA Cup Fifth Round fixture to compete against West Ham United for a spot in the quarterfinals. The stadium was filled with cheers and celebrations on a Wednesday evening, courtesy of the home side’s first major silverware in nearly six years. Nonetheless, the Hammers came to Manchester with an idea to spoil the party of the Red Devils, and they were on the verge of doing so, after the side took a lead less than ten minutes after the restart.
United Scored Three After Being 1-0 Down
53-year-old Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag opted for a major shift for his side that emerged victorious in the FA Cup Final, with six changes coming in against West Ham United, namely Victor Lindelöf, Harry Maguire, Tyrell Malacia, Marcel Sabitzer, Scott McTominay and Alejandro Garnacho. Former United head coach David Moyes, on the other hand, made four replacements to his side that beat Nottingham Forest last time around in the Premier League.
Both sides each had a couple of dangerous chances in the first 45 minutes, but the game remained goalless until the 54th minutes. The home side stopped playing momentarily when they thought the ball was out of play but the Hammers kept it in and found Algerian winger Saïd Benrahma in the penalty box. His curled shot from the left flank hit the far corner, giving the visitors the lead and prompting ten Hag to bring on his red-hot striker Marcus Rashford from the bench. Manchester United finally levelled the score in the 77th minute, when a Bruno Fernandes corner was put into the back of West Ham United’s goal by its own player Nayef Aguerd. The equaliser came minutes after Casemiro’s header was ruled offside by video assistant referee (VAR).
Boosted by their equaliser, the Red Devils gained their first lead of the game seconds before the added time was given, thanks to their prodigy Garnacho. Hammers initially repelled a cross from Bruno, before Wout Weghorst’s shot failed to hit goal. His blocked shot fell cleanly for the 18-year-old Argentine winger, who positioned himself to send a neat strike into the bottom right corner. David Moyes’ side was deflated by the potential winning goal and had its focus switched off in the dying moments of the match, allowing Weghorst to intercept the ball for his Brazilian teammate Fred to finish the game with United’s third goal of the evening.
Alejandro Garnacho after scoring the go-ahead goal in the 90th minute 🤫 pic.twitter.com/bLGhkgOuG6
— B/R Football (@brfootball) March 1, 2023
Third Successful 3-1 Victory in This Season’s FA Cup
Ten Hag was a happy man during the post-match conference, after his team came back from a goal down to dispatch West Ham United before their loud home fans. He credited the win to his side’s calmness throughout the game, claiming that his players were cool and collected despite the visitors having the first lead. He said: “The resilience and belief they were going to win was magnificent.” The Dutchman continued with a praise over his teenage sensation Garnacho, stating that “You could see he was growing into the game and taking players on, he was difficult to stop and he was really a threat”.
United’s captain Maguire also echoed his coach’s words, complimenting the Madrid-born flanker as a young boy who is filled with incredible abilities and soon will be a megastar, should he continue to work and train hard like he does at the moment. The England international stressed that a great team shall never sway from the belief that it can win any games, regardless of how tough its opponent or the situation might be.
Fulham in the Quarterfinal Next
A third consecutive 3-1 victory in the FA Cup this season allowed United to progress into the quarterfinal of the competition, where it will be facing another English Premier League side Fulham. Only half of the last eight teams remaining are from the best-tier of English club football, with the other being the defending Premier League champion Manchester City and Brighton & Hove Albion F. C.
But before United can dive back to domestic cup competitions on 18th March, they will have two league games over Liverpool and Southampton as well as two legs of clashes against Spanish La Liga’s Real Betis in the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 respectively.
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