A Scott McTominay goal in the first half of extra time was enough to secure a 1-0 win for Manchester United and send them through to the quarter-finals of the 2020-21 FA Cup. The Red Devils overcame a tough challenge posed by West Ham in the fourth round at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
Manchester United dominated possession in the first half without really testing the West Ham defense. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men were able to create only one clear-cut chance in the face of a well-drilled outfit.
Despite creating the better chances of the two sides, Manchester United failed to convert any of their opportunities. This allowed the visitors to slowly grow into the game, albeit without much joy.
As such, both managers were looking for their players to be much more clinical in front of goal as the game ticked over into extra time.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 98th minute by McTominay. The Manchester United midfielder took advantage of rare confusion in the West Ham box and arrived late to drill a fine first-time volley into the bottom corner.
The visitors, who gradually grew into the game as fatigue and frustration set in for both sides, failed to ask probing questions of the Manchester United defense. Moyes' men ultimately came up short and exited the competition in the fourth round.
On that note, here are the five major talking points from Manchester United’s hard-fought 1-0 win over West Ham in the FA Cup.
#1 Cup action gives fringe players a chance to shine
With squad rotation being the key to avoiding unnecessary injuries in this already congested season, cup competitions allow clubs to rest regular starters and give other players a chance to step up.
With that in mind, Solskjaer handed starts to Dean Henderson and Donny van de Beek, both regular members of Manchester United’s cup sides. Anthony Martial was also given a starting berth as the striker after seeing Edinson Cavani surge above him in the pecking order of late.
There was also an exciting addition to the Manchester United bench, as January signing Amad Diallo was named as part of the senior squad for the first time after impressing in a couple of outings with the U23 side.
#2 Ogbonna injury is a major concern for West Ham
Faced with their toughest opponent yet in their FA Cup campaign this season, West Ham were handed another setback barely 10 minutes into the game when Angelo Ogbonna was forced off due to injury.
The Italian defender, who has been a mainstay for the Hammers this season, providing solid defensive cover for his side, took a nasty hit to his ankle as he went sliding in to prevent Anthony Martial from getting a shot in on goal.
Fortunately for the West Ham faithful, Ogbonna ignored the stretcher that had been brought out for him, walking off the field gingerly but under his own steam.
Issa Diop took up his place in central defense on the night. But David Moyes will be hoping that Ogbonna’s injury is not serious enough to necessitate a long injury layoff.
The former Juventus man has played a key role in West Ham’s good performances this season and will be needed to do the same as the season progresses.