Fernandes free-kick earns Manchester United FA Cup win over Liverpool
Bruno Fernandes’ superb 78th-minute free-kick knocked Liverpool out of the 2020/2021 English FA Cup fourth round as Manchester United won Sunday’s thriller 3-2 at Old Trafford.
Mohamed Salah’s chipped finish gave Liverpool a short-lived lead after 18 minutes until Mason Greenwood leveled for Manchester United eight minutes later in an even first half.
Marcus Rashford stunned Liverpool early in the second half and Salah scored again to restore equal terms until Fernandes fired a direct free-kick into the bottom right corner to complete the victory.
“When you go a goal down, the reaction of everyone was really good,” said Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who famously scored the winner in a 1999 2-1 FA Cup victory between the English giants.
“Great goal, good free-kick. (Fernandes) stayed about 45 minutes after training yesterday (Saturday) shooting free-kicks. So, I was pretty confident he could score one if he got the chance.”
Manchester United will host West Ham United in their fifth-round tie in early February.
Earlier, Tammy Abraham scored a hat-trick to help Chelsea advance with a 3-1 win over second-tier Championship side Luton Town in snowy conditions at Stamford Bridge.
English Premier League (EPL) sides Leicester City and Burnley are also through with Leicester coming back from a goal down to beat Brentford 3-1, while Jay Rodriguez scored twice for Burnley in a 3-0 win at Fulham.
Liverpool lost their three-year unbeaten league stretch at Anfield on Thursday against Burnley and have not won a game since securing a 4-1 success against Aston Villa in the previous Cup round.
Juergen Klopp’s men found the start they needed when Roberto Firmino threaded a pass to Salah, who flicked the ball over Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson.
Manchester United responded moments later when Rashford picked out Greenwood with an inch-perfect ball from the middle of the field which required just two touches for the England international to score.
Greenwood returned the favour at the start of the second half when his lofted pass caught Liverpool defender Rhys Williams off guard as Rashford raced through to put Manchester United ahead.
As the hour mark approached, Salah boosted Liverpool’s hopes with a second goal when he swept home a low cross from Firmino.
But when Fabinho fouled Manchester United’s striker Edinson Cavani on the edge of the box, the tie was done.
Portugal midfielder Fernandes stepped up, picked his spot and lashed in the winner for his 28th Manchester United goal.
Abraham scored two goals in six minutes with 17 minutes played to put Chelsea in command, but Luton’s Jordan Clark gave the visitors hope on the half-hour mark.
Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga was at fault for Luton’s goal as Clark’s low shot from a tight angle slipped through the Spaniard’s hand.
England striker Abraham completed his hat-trick in the 74th minute with an easy tap-in, before his German team-mate Timo Werner had a late penalty kick saved by Simon Sluga.
“Great to score a hat-trick and win the game so comfortably,” Abraham said. “It is always nice to get a win and play well. Hopefully we will take that confidence on.”
Frank Lampard’s men will travel to Barnsley for the next round, another Championship side who progressed on Saturday with a 1-0 win over Norwich.
Leicester City, who were without striker Jamie Vardy due to a hernia, were stunned in the seventh minute.
That was when second-tier Brentford’s Danish defender Mads Sorensen knocked in from close range when Leicester failed to clear a corner-kick.
But a second half goal from Cengiz Under, a Youri Tielemans penalty kick and James Maddison’s 71st minute strike saw them through to face Brighton and Hove Albion in the fifth round.
Rodriguez’s double, plus a goal from Kevin Long, earned Burnley a meeting with either fourth-tier League Two side Crawley Town or Bournemouth, who play their tie on Tuesday.
Everton play Sheffield Wednesday in Sunday’s late kick-off.(dpa/NAN)