Scott McTominay’s low strike in the first half of extra time proved to be enough to earn Manchester United a 1-0 win over West Ham that booked their spot in the quarterfinals of the FA Cup.
Both sides lacked spark in a dire fifth-round clash with precious few chances in normal time at Old Trafford.
But McTominay finally relieved the tedium with a sharp low shot from Marcus Rashford’s clever set-up in the 97th minute.
United badly missed the creative flair of Bruno Fernandes, who came off the bench in the 73rd minute, although they did create the only real chances in normal time with Lukasz Fabianski making good saves from Victor Lindelof and Rashford.
West Ham created next to nothing although Craig Dawson failed to connect with a header in front of goal in the last seconds of normal time.
Scott McTominay vs West Ham United
McSauce scored again 🌟 pic.twitter.com/WkRouyZnZv
— Man Utd Comps 🇾🇪 (@CompsMU) February 9, 2021
McTominay has grown to be a very important player for Manchester United. He has filled in the midfield role perfectly offering lots of options to Ole Gunnar’s side.
Recently, McTominay has been putting his name in the score-sheet when it matters the most.
Donny van de Beek: Not for the first time of late, it didn’t click for the former Ajax midfielder. To an extent that is entirely natural: he was being asked to fill in for United’s most important player in Bruno Fernandes, he lacked sharpness and his team-mates did not seem to be entirely in sync with his movements. The cause for concern is that his frequency of game time may not improve after a display like tonight’s.
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In Martial, Mason Greenwood and Rashford, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer deployed three incisive forwards who can rifle through high lines in the blink of an eye. The question was always going to be what would happen if the Red Devils could not find any room to attack.
The answer was underwhelming in the extreme. It is of course natural for any team to have difficulties against what was often a bank of five and four but the hosts did not seem to be coming up with approaches that might get them around or behind West Ham. Alex Telles’ ability to crash in a cross from wide is not to be sniffed at but Edinson Cavani — who did not see action until the 86th minute — is a far better candidate to exploit those deliveries than Martial.
Van De Beek can drift into spaces to make the next pass along but he had Fred and Nemanja Matic behind him, neither of them exactly known for line-breaking passes. As such it was only a matter of time before Solskjaer settled on his all too familiar plan: get Fernandes on the pitch and hope he does something. In the manager’s defense, it works more often than not.