Rob DawsonCorresponding7 minute read
MANCHESTER, England — Manchester United came from behind to book their place in the FA Cup quarter-finals with a 3-1 victory over West Ham United at Old Trafford.
West Ham winger Said Benrahma gave his side the lead early in the second half but a heavily rotated Man United side fought back with an own goal from Nayef Aguerd and a pair of late strikes from Alejandro Garnacho and Fred. Garnacho’s goal only came in the 90th minute before Fred, who came off the bench, secured the result five minutes into added time.
Man United will host Fulham in the quarter-finals on March 18, marking the eighth time Man United have reached this FA Cup round in the past nine seasons.
1. Alejandro Garnacho delivers again for Man United in breakout season
Garnacho, the teenager who made his first senior start in October, is having a great season.
He scored the only goal against Real Sociedad in November and then a last-minute winner at Fulham just before the World Cup. He scored against Leeds United at Elland Road in February and now you can add a stoppage-time goal to win an FA Cup quarter-final to the list.
His exquisite touch and finish against West Ham sealed victory for Man United, and when he was substituted almost immediately after his goal, the whole stadium rose to chant “Viva Garnacho”. Fans here have a new hero this season.
It has long looked like manager Erik ten Hag’s decision to rotate his Man United side after the Carabao Cup final could backfire. But Garnacho’s late goal – followed by another from Fred with virtually the last kick of the game – means United are still in the hunt for three more trophies this season.
Garnacho’s composure in the final minutes with the game on the line was the most defining moment and was further proof of how important the 18-year-old has already become. He has developed a habit of appearing with key contributions which are proving invaluable to United and Ten Hag this season.
2. David Moyes gamble almost pays off for West Ham
Battling relegation near the bottom of the Premier League table, West Ham manager David Moyes could have viewed his side’s FA Cup at Old Trafford as an unnecessary distraction and rested his players ahead of the trip to Brighton on Saturday. Instead, however, he chose the strongest team available to him – including influential midfielder Declan Rice – and his decision almost Paid.
West Ham were the better team in the first half and, when Benrahma put them ahead after 54 minutes, it was well deserved. It would have been 2-0 soon after had it not been for a good save from David de Gea to prevent West Ham striker Michail Antonio, who also missed a golden chance in the first half .
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Staying in the Premier League is the priority this season for former Man United manager Moyes, and he is also set to face the Europa Conference League Round of 16, starting with a draw against AEK Larnaca later this this month.
There’s no shame in being knocked out of the FA Cup by a Man United side in good form, and at least West Ham arrived in Manchester ready to give it a shot. Survival in the Premier League and, possibly, a European trophy in the Conference League would be a successful end to a difficult season.
3.Harry Maguire must leave Manchester if he wants regular football
Harry Maguire stopped to speak to reporters in Wembley Tunnel on Sunday, around an hour after lifting the Carabao Cup. Appointed as a substitute for the final against Newcastle United, he was limited to just two minutes at the end of the game and later expressed his desire to “play more games”.
His start against West Ham here was just his eighth in all competitions since the calamitous 4-0 loss to Brentford in August, and it’s likely he’ll have to wait for his next one.
Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez, both rested against West Ham, will be back against Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday and Maguire will in all likelihood return to the bench.
Maguire received an early booking against West Ham for a reckless challenge on Michail Antonio, and he struggled with the Jamaican striker’s pace and movement. Maguire’s first touch of the night was a point-blank pass to Antony that blasted the winger’s knee.
With Martinez and Varane cemented as Ten Hag’s first-choice duo in defense, Maguire will have a decision to make this summer. He can either stick around and wait for a rare opportunity or find another club to satisfy his desire for more games.
Best and Worst Performers
Best: Alexandre Grenache, Manchester United
Showed so much composure to control a spinning ball in the box and shoot into the far corner.
Best: Said Benrahma, West Ham United
Created the best chance of the first half with a fine through ball from Antonio and then put West Ham ahead with a wonderful curling finish.
Best: David De Gea, Manchester United
The goalkeeper kept Man United in the game with two big saves from Antonio.
Worst: Nayef Aguerd, West Ham United
He gifted Man United with an equalizer with an own goal from Bruno Fernandes’ corner.
Worst: Antony, Manchester United
He had a quiet game and was replaced by Marcus Rashford as soon as West Ham took the lead.
Worst: Michail Antonio, West Ham United
The striker should have scored twice to put the game past United ahead of his return.
Highlights and Moments
West Ham left winger Saïd Benrahma put the visitors ahead in the 54th minute with a well-placed strike.
Marcus Rashford, who started on the Manchester United bench, reacted quickly to the goal, seemingly eager to get into the game.
However, all Man United needed to equalize was an own goal from West Ham defender Nayef Aguerd.
From a corner in the 77th minute, goalkeeper Alphonse Areola came out to kick the ball in but couldn’t reach it and instead it headed off Aguerd and into the goal.
The match winner came in the 90th minute from 18-year-old Alejandro Garnacho.
After the game: What managers and players said
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag on the result: “It’s very important, a massive performance from our team and where we showed our mentality. We showed that we have the character to face difficult situations, the team can continue with energy. It’s not about no 11 players, the bench can have an impact.”
Ten Hag on Alejandro Garnacho’s goal: “Today was another step for him. I said before the game that you have to make an impact as a starter and I think he can do that. It’s a great skill when you’re fearless and brave “There are not so many players who can take on a player and dribble and he has more skills than that. He has great energy and is quick and can keep running.
Manchester United defender Harry Maguire on the result: “We worked hard for ourselves. We were poor in the first half, we have to start better than that. We conceded a soft goal but it’s an incredible reaction and we kept fighting and we really had felt like it was coming.”
Maguire in the comeback: “The best teams never stop believing. I’m not saying yet that we are one of the best teams, we have a lot to do but we are getting there, we are taking steps forward. We have a philosophy, we were really trying to score. It felt as if the Stretford End were sucking the goal in the end there.
Maguire on Alejandro Garnacho’s goal: “Garnacho is very good, he is a young lad with incredible talent; he has the world at his feet if he works and trains hard like he is doing right now.”
Key stats (provided by ESPN Stats & Information research)
Manchester United are through to their eighth FA Cup quarter-final appearance in the past nine seasons.
With their comeback against West Ham, Man United have gone unbeaten (4-0-1; WLD) in their last four home games where they have been trailing (in all competitions).
Alejandro Garnacho’s goal is his third goal this season in all competitions. Only Marcus Rashford has more this season for the club (11).
Manchester United : The Red Devils return to the league when they visit Liverpool on Sunday March 5. Man United’s FA Cup will resume in the quarter-finals when they host Fulham on March 18, which will be shown live on ESPN+.
West Ham United: The Hammers resume their league campaign on Saturday March 4 with a visit to Brighton.