United dump holders Chelsea out of Cup to pile pressure on Sarri
February 19, 2019
LONDON (Reuters) - Manchester United Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba headed first-half goals to claim a 2-0 win that dumped FA Cup holders Chelsea out of the competition and secured a place in the quarter-finals in an intense tie at Stamford Bridge on Monday.
DOUBLE SAVEUnited’s Sergio Romero had pulled off a fine double save in the 11th minute from a spinning David Luiz free kick headed for the top corner followed by a stinging shot from Pedro. Three minutes later Arrizabalaga had to fly to his left to keep out a Herrera strike. The lively Rashford also kept the Chelsea keeper under constant pressure. Chelsea’s fragile defence was split with crosses from either flank. Pogba supplied the first in the 31st minute after a fast move down the left and Herrera ghosted into the box to nod the ball down past stranded goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga. Until that moment a lively game had been evenly poised, with a host of chances at either end. Chelsea’s hopes were crushed just before halftime in a speedy United counter down the right, with Marcus Rashford crossing for Pogba to head powerfully home between defenders Cesar Azpilicueta and Antonio Rudiger. United were able to drop back and defend after the break, making occasional forays up the pitch but always confident of keeping an increasingly toothless Chelsea attack at bay. The home side’s best chance of the half came in the 63rd minute when Eden Hazard, reportedly a target for Real Madrid, jinked his way through, only for the Belgian’s shot to be expertly diverted by United defender Victor Lindelof. The home fans jeered Sarri’s like-for-like substitutions. The Italian has been criticised for stubbornly sticking to his tactics and failing to change games. United, on the other hand, looked like a team on a mission, playing for their coach and each other and brimming with the confidence that comes from turning an ailing season around. Their only reverse since Norwegian Solskjaer took over was last week’s Champions League home defeat by Paris St Germain. The contrast was reflected in the boos from some Chelsea supporters at the final whistle, while a jubilant Solskjaer celebrated with his players in front of the travelling fans.
United into top four with 3-0 win at Fulham
Earlier, Manchester United rolled to their 10th win in 11 games under caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with a 3-0 win at Fulham on Saturday, climbing into the top four in the Premier League for the first time since the opening weekend. Paul Pogba fired United ahead from an impossibly tight angle in the 14th minute, springing in behind the defence and onto a pass from Anthony Martial on the left, turning and shooting first time between keeper Sergio Rico and the near post. Martial doubled the lead nine minutes later in style, collecting the ball on the halfway line, jinking past Denis Odoi and racing all the way into the area before stroking his shot beyond the reach of Rico.