Man Utd see two players step up as Fulham lose heads in FA Cup clash
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Manchester United defeated Fulham 3-1 to continue their chances of winning an extraordinary cup treble. The Red Devils went behind through Aleksandar Mitrovic, but after he and Willian were sent off for Fulham in the second half, Bruno Fernandes and Marcel Sabitzer scored to complete a rapid turnaround. It was a chaotic match at Old Trafford, with Erik ten Hag’s side now through to a second semi-final this season.
Manchester United fell behind against Fulham when Mitrovic powered home from close range to send the away fans wild.
But a Willian handball then turned the tide in dramatic fashion.
The Brazil international, along with Marco Silva, both saw red as tempers boiled over.
And Mitrovic was then dismissed, too, with the Serbia international appearing to push referee Chris Kavanagh as he completely lost his head.
Fernandes then levelled from the penalty spot, with the Portugal international taking the spot-kick instead of Marcus Rashford.
And Sabitzer netted his first goal for the club since arriving from Bayern Munich to send United through, with Fernandes adding gloss to the win late on.
Express Sport now takes a look at four things we learned from the dramatic match at Old Trafford.
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Two players step up
United were heading for an agonising defeat against Fulham that would have ended their hopes of a treble.
Fortunately for them, two players stepped up.
One was Fernandes. He wanted to take the penalty and Rashford was happy to give him the ball, with the Portugal international then showing nerves of steel to convert.
And Sabitzer showed courage, too, throwing himself at the ball to send it past Bernd Leno and give United a huge victory.
On another day, the Red Devils would have gone out. Sometimes, things are just meant to be.
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Four players lucky
United weren’t at their best during the contest against Fulham until the awarding of the controversial penalty.
Scott McTominay was abysmal for the most part, with the Scotland international failing to enforce his authority on the game.
Jadon Sancho failed to take his chance on the right wing, and the England international remains a curious case.
Luke Shaw was too slow to prevent Mitrovic from opening the scoring, though did make up for that by providing the assist for Sabitzer.
And Wout Weghorst was, typically, lacking a spark up top. The sooner United land an upgrade, the better.
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Three players missed
Ten Hag was sorely missing four key players during the game.
Casemiro was one. Without the Brazil international, the Red Devils look far less solid in the middle of the park with Scott McTominay paling in comparison.
United also lacked the class of Christian Eriksen, too. Without him, United do not have the same creative instincts in midfield.
Meanwhile Harry Maguire wasn’t good enough in the absence of Raphael Varane – incurring the wrath of the home fans on more than one occasion.
Fulham deserve the mockery that comes
Fulham are set to be mocked after this.
As well they should, with the Cottagers allowing their tempers to boil over – something that ultimately cost them dear.
Mitrovic was a disgrace for pushing Kavanagh, with the Serb previously one of the best players on the pitch.
Silva had no reason to remonstrate with the referee while he was checking the VAR monitor, either. Willian’s handball was as clear and obvious as it comes.
The Brazilian himself doesn’t deserve criticism but, even then, adjusting his body slightly more could have potentially avoided a dismissal.
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