Juan Mata sent Manchester United into the fourth round of the English Cup with a clear final in the 67th minute to secure a 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers in his replay at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
– Streaming replay of Manchester United’s Wolves victory over ESPN + (US only)
Mata was scored by Anthony Martial and goalkeeper John Ruddy was calmly trampled for the only goal against the Wolves who knocked out United from last season’s FA Cup and the VAR excluded him for a tenth minute.
The first game between teams in Molineux, both in the last 32 of the Europa League and with many tired legs, had ended without goals with United who had not made a single shot on goal.
United’s celebrations were silenced, however, due to an injury to their best scorer Marcus Rashford, who came on the bench in the second half for Daniel James and played only 16 minutes before limping the injury.
“This has failed, but you have to go for them once in a while,” manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told BT Sport.
The injury left the British striker in doubt about Sunday’s Premier League clash against Liverpool’s fleeing leader at Anfield.
“It looks like he knocked there and he can’t run, so let’s try it in the next two days. Hopefully Sunday will be fine, I don’t know,” said Solskjaer.
In the other nighttime replay, Cardiff City beat Carlisle United fourth-tier wrestlers 4-3 in a more lively game to organize a clash with Reading in the fourth round.
United will later play both Premier League rivals Watford, last year’s runners-up, and third-tier Tranmere Rovers, whose replay on Tuesday was postponed due to a flooded field in Prenton Park.
Solskjaer’s side was kicked out after 10 minutes when a VAR review showed that the ball had rebounded Raul Jimenez’s hand before the Portuguese teenager Pedro Neto scored for the Wolves.
Visitors also approached from a corner when Matt Doherty threw his head on the pole.
Although the scoring ran out of goals during the break, there were still five shots on target and United provided three.
“I think you can see that there are two teams that were tired in the end. End-to-end, an open game that is not suitable for us at times. We wanted to control the game more,” said Solskjaer.
“Juan Mata is a different class. He has the skill, composure and even the pace to do it.”
Wolf manager Nuno Espirito Santo said his team didn’t defend the goal well, but it was a good game and he was frustrated with the result.
“This is VAR, you can’t do anything. We are celebrating non-goals. It doesn’t make sense,” he added.