Manchester United comfortably beat Shrewsbury Town 3-0 at New Meadow on Monday night to book their spot in the FA Cup quarter-finals. Goals from Chris Smalling, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard gave the Red Devils the win in spite of going down to 10 men due to an injury to Will Keane.
Shrewsbury Town: Leutwiler, Whitbread, Grandison, Black, Whalley, Brown, Grimmer, Ogogo, Mangan, Knight-Percival, Akpa Akpro
Manchester United: Romero, Varela, Smalling, Blind, Borthwick-Jackson, Schneiderlin, Herrera, Memphis, Mata, Lingard, Martial
Manchester United had the early runnings in the early stages of the game but failed to capitalise on their chances. Chris Smalling had the chance to put the visitors ahead as early as the second minute when he met Daley Blind's corner kick with his head at the near post. But although he had a good sight on goal, the header sailed over the bar.
Memphis Depay, who had won the first corner, then had two chances to score when he expertly controlled a Juan Mata diagonal pass and cut in from the left wing. However, his shot was way off target and so high that it smashed into the advertising hoardings above the stands. The Dutchman had another chance moments later with the same end result, albeit a little lower than his first shot.
But it was third time lucky for Depay who eventually got a shot on target forcing Jayson Leutwiler into a low save. The ball looked to be heading for the bottom corner if not for the Swiss goalkeeper's timely intervention.
The United faithful held their breath when Smalling smacked his head on one of the electronic hoardings after battling with Shrewsbury forward JeanLouis Akpa Akpro. Although he looked shaken up, he managed to continue playing.
The Red Devils then won a freekick in the 25th minute when Grandison fouled Depay. The Dutch winger took it himself and looked to have done enough to score only for the ball to deflect off the face of Anthony Martial.
The young French striker then had a chance at the halfhour mark when his low shot was on target. Leutwiler stuck his leg out only for the ball to loop into the air behind him. Just when it seemed like United would get the first goal, Abu Ogogo cleared it off the line with his head.
But Van Gaal's side were not to be denied a goal after sustained pressure and found an unlikely source to grab the opener in Chris Smalling. The defender was surprisingly in Shrewsbury's box when Morgan Schneiderlin flicked a header his way and the English defender simply swung his foot at it under pressure from Knight Percival to get the ball past Leutwiler and into the back of the net.
Juan Mata then threw a killer punch at the stroke of halftime when his freekick sailed over the wall and curled into the back of the net while the goalkeeper didn't move an inch. There was a question of offside due to player interference as three United players stood behind the wall and ran forward as Mata took it but the linesman kept his flag down.
Halftime: Shrewsbury Town 0-2 Manchester United
Louis van Gaal made a change at halftime with BorthwickJackson coming off for debutant Joe Riley. Meanwhile, the home side took off KnightPercival and brought on Cole, setting up with a 4-4-2.
United started the second half also brightly with Martial almost punishing the home side when Grandison made a mistake in the penalty area. Soon after, Mata found Lingard at the far post with a cross but he was denied a shot on goal by Brown.
A neat cornerkick routine then saw Mata receive the ball from a short corner near the goal line and then flicked it to the far post for Martial. The header from barely three yards out should have been buried but the 20yearold forward mistimed it and failed to make it 30.
However, United eventually got their third goal through Jesse Lingard. Mata found Ander Herrera in space just outside the box and the Spanish midfielder floated in a cross to the far post where Lingard finished with a halfvolley to triple the visitors' lead.
With the job pretty much done and one eye on the crucial Europa League fixture in three days' time, Mata was taken off for Andreas Pereira in the 65th minute. Van Gaal's third and final substitution five minutes later saw Martial give way to 23 year old forward Will Keane.
Keane almost made it 40 when he tried his luck with a leftfooted shot on goal but he only managed to hit the post. But what could have been a night to remember turned sour when he hurt himself on that shot and eventually had to limp off with a groin injury. Having already made three substitutions, United were now down to 10 men.
The home side then ruined their best chance to get a goal back from a setpiece. After Depay had fouled Grimmer to concede a freekick, the cross was met by Whitbread's head under pressure from Sergio Romero. Although he won the aeriel duel, he couldn't get his header on target.
With five minutes to go, Shrewsbury were creating chances to score a consolation goal. Mangan managed to get a shot on target from near the sixyard box and although Romero was beaten, Varela was on hand to make a goal line clearance. An unmarked Ogogo then had a chance to head home a cross only for the shot to go just wide.
Cole then tried his luck from distance with a leftfooted shot in stoppage time. The shot was headed goalward but did not dip enough to trouble Romero, grazing the top of the net as it sailed over the bar.
Three minutes of stoppage time were added by Shrewsbury failed to take advantage of having more men on the pitch as United kept a clean sheet and sealed their quarterfinal spot.