FA Cup: Man United have the chance to beat Aston Villa

Manchester United’s Scott McTominay celebrates scoring the only goal of the game.
Image credit: Reuters

Manchester: Manchester United took advantage of their chance to reach the FA Cup fourth round with a 1-0 win over Aston Villa on Monday thanks to an early goal from Scott McTominay.

The Scotland international returned home after just eight minutes but Villa had to regret a slew of missed chances and a controversial VAR criticism that ruled out an equalizer from Danny Ings in the second half.

United interim manager Ralf Rangnick was in desperate need of a response to a week of turmoil at United’s side which followed a dismal performance in losing 1-0 at home to Wolves.

The German made an important decision because Cristiano Ronaldo was not in good shape.

United got the start they needed to calm nerves as the perfect cross from Fred chose McTominay to fuel a falling header.

However, all the shortcomings that marked a chaotic season under two Red Devils managers were quickly exposed as Villa dominated the game.

Ollie Watkins failed to score a corner corner at the far post, Emiliano Buendia’s shot through the goal eluded Ings and David de Gea made a superb save to prevent John McGinn as the visitors missed a hat-trick of opportunities in rapid succession.

United were also without injured captain Harry Maguire and his understudy Victor Lindelof gave Villa another golden chance to equalize with a heavy touch that got Watkins in, only for his shot to come back against the crossbar.

The home side were limited on counterattacks but could also have extended their advantage ahead of the break as Emiliano Martinez parried Edinson Cavani’s strike before Marcus Rashford’s effort was repelled by Matty Cash.

Villa won at Old Trafford earlier in the season under former manager Dean Smith, but has improved markedly since Steven Gerrard took over as boss in November.

The visitors had the ball in the net twice in the second half but were denied the opportunity to draw in overtime due to a lengthy VAR review.

After Ings found himself in Ezri Konsa’s knockdown, VAR first checked to see if the forward was offside.

But it was referee Michael Oliver who made the final call to rule out the goal for a foul on Cavani by Jacob Ramsey as the ball was played into the box.

A much simpler offside call against Ings moments later prevented Watkins from equalizing.

Another moment of magic from De Gea was also needed to see United over the line as he deflected Cash’s drive.

Rangnick’s men face Middlesbrough at home in the fourth round.

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