Juan Mata, Marcos Rojo and James Wilson as scored as Manchester United beat fourth-tier Cambridge United 3-0 in their FA Cup fourth-round replay. But the game could have turned out so different if Tom Elliott’s shot in the first minute had found the back of the net instead of David De Gea’s right hand post.
But this ended up being a comfortable win for United as first-half goals from Mata and Rojo set up a fifth-round trip for Louis van Gaal’s side to Preston North End, who beat Sheffield United 3-1.
After a slow start United went ahead in the 25th-minute lead through Mata. Angel di Maria’s left-wing cross was headed down at the back post by Marouane Fellaini and Mata was on hand to flick the ball into the roof of the net from close range.
Seven minutes later, Rojo doubled the lead after Fellaini’s shot was blocked and the rebound spun kindly for Robin van Persie. The Dutch international chipped in a cross for Rojo, who made no mistake with a strong header from six yards out to claim his first goal for the club since joining from Sporting Lisbon last year.
The second half has a pattern of relentless United attacks as the Red Devils coasted towards the fifth round. Van Persie spurned four decent chances, while Cambridge goalkeeper Chris Dunn saved from Wayne Rooney and Di Maria, before substitute Wilson found the bottom-right corner in the 73rd minute to seal victory.
Sheffield United, who recently lost to Tottenham Hotspur in the League Cup semi-finals, took a 38th-minute lead at home to Preston through Jamie Murphy’s low shot. But Preston scored three times in ten second-half minutes, with Paul Gallagher claiming a brace and Paul Huntington also finding the net, to earn themselves a glamour tie with Van Gaal’s side.
In the night’s other game, Sunderland came from behind to win 3-1 at Championship side Fulham, setting up a tricky fifth-round trip to third-division Bradford City, who beat Chelsea in round four.
The final fourth round replay takes place tomorrow night when Liverpool will look at to avoid the upset as they travel to Bolton.