Juan Mata’s second half dink send Manchester United to the next round of the FA Cup as they beat Wolves.
Mata chipped goalkeeper John Ruddy after being put clean through by Anthony Martial’s defence splitting pass.
Ruddy earlier in the game denied the Spaniard the chance to open his account. The goalkeeper also did well to keep James out in a game where United got the better chances.
It was an “on” day for the red devils one could say in a season that’s been riddled with inconsistent performances. But this was a much livelier United than the one who did not manage a shot on target when the teams first met at Wolves. The goalless draw meant the game had to be replayed and decided in the replay.
Wolves must feel undone when Pedro Neto put the ball at the back of United’s goal only for the goal to be ruled out by VAR for a handball in the build-up to the goal.
Speaking after the game Wolves’ captain Conor Coast said;
“It’s constant, all we are talking about is VAR. It’s ridiculous, it’s stupid.
“You can’t celebrate. Raul Jimenez didn’t even know he had handballed it. We have to get used to it.
“All of it is terrible for me. It’s not for me, it’s not for a lot of players. But people higher up in the game are happy with it.”
The disallowed goal seemed to be a wake-up call for Manchester United though as they took better charge of the game afterwards and got their reward.
It was not all roses for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer though, in a bid to wrap up the game in the 90 minutes the United boss sent on his most potent striker Marcus Rashford whom he had understandably rested due to the fixture congestion. Indeed it payed off as three minutes later the home side scored what potentially was the winner. But then it was United’s turn to pay as Rashford was helped off the pitch barely 16 minutes after coming on and it looked serious.
After the game, Solskjaer admitted the decision to play Rashford was one that backfired.
Rashford’s injury aside, it was a satisfactory job-well-done for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his team.
“I think you can see it was two teams towards the end that were tired. It was end to end and an open game – sometimes that doesn’t suit us.
“We’re delighted to beat Wolves finally. Juan Mata is different class. He’s got the skill, composure and even pace.”
Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo said
“It was a good game of football, an even game. Both teams had chances.
“We didn’t defend the goal well but we reacted well and were in the game. A proper game, I am disappointed to go out because it is frustrating when you perform well and go out.”
When asked about the disallowed goal he said
“That’s VAR, you cannot do anything about it. We are celebrating non-goals – it doesn’t make sense.”
United will next face either Watford or Tranmere whose Third-Round replay was postponed due to bad weather conditions.
Manchester United’s Brandon Williams was the man of the match.