MANCHESTER, England — Manchester United came from behind to book their place in the FA Cup quarterfinals with a 3-1 win over West Ham United at Old Trafford.
West Ham winger Said Benrahma put his side ahead early in the second half, but a much-rotated Man United side fought back thanks to a Nayef Aguerd own goal and a pair of late strikes from Alejandro Garnacho and Fred. Garnacho’s goal didn’t arrive until the 90th minute before Fred, who came off the bench, made the result safe in the fifth minute of stoppage time.
Man United will host Fulham in the quarterfinals on March 18, which marks Man United’s eighth time reaching that round of the FA Cup in the last nine seasons.
1. Alejandro Garnacho delivers for Man United again in breakout season
Garnacho, the teenager who made his first senior start in October, is having quite a season.
He scored the only goal against Real Sociedad in November, and then a last-minute winner at Fulham just before the World Cup. He scored against Leeds United at Elland Road in February and now you can add a stoppage time goal to earn a FA Cup quarterfinal to the list.
His exquisite touch and finish against West Ham sealed Man United’s win, and when he was substituted almost immediately after his goal, the whole stadium rose to sing “Viva Garnacho.” The fans here have got a new hero this season.
It looked for a long time that manager Erik ten Hag’s decision to rotate his Man United squad following the Carabao Cup final might backfire. But Garnacho’s late goal — followed by another from Fred with practically the last kick of the game — means United are still in the hunt for three more trophies this season.
Garnacho’s composure in the final minutes with the game on the line was the stand-out moment and was more evidence of how important the 18-year-old has already become. He has developed a habit of popping up with key contributions which are proving invaluable to United and Ten Hag this season.
2. David Moyes’ gamble almost pays off for West Ham
Battling relegation near the bottom of the Premier League table, West Ham manager David Moyes could have viewed his side’s FA Cup at Old Trafford as an unnecessary distraction and rested his players ahead of the trip to Brighton on Saturday. Instead, though, he picked the strongest side available to him — including influential midfielder Declan Rice — and his decision almost paid off.
West Ham were the better side in the first half and, when Benrahma put them ahead after 54 minutes, it was well deserved. It would have been 2-0 shortly afterwards had it not been for a good save from David De Gea to deny West Ham forward Michail Antonio, who also missed a golden opportunity in the first half.
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The priority this season for Moyes, former manager of Man United, is to stay in the Premier League, and he also has the knockout rounds of Europa Conference League to contend with, starting with a two-legged tie against AEK Larnaca later this month.
There’s no shame in getting knocked out of the FA Cup by a Man United side in good form, and at least West Ham arrived in Manchester willing to give it a go. Premier League survival and, possibly, a European trophy in the Conference League would be a successful end to a difficult season.
3. Harry Maguire must leave Manchester if he wants regular football
Harry Maguire stopped to talk to reporters in the Wembley tunnel on Sunday, about an hour after lifting the Carabao Cup. Named as a substitute for the final against Newcastle United, he was restricted to just two minutes at the end of the game and afterwards expressed his desire to “play more games.”
His start against West Ham here was just his eighth in all competitions since the calamitous 4-0 defeat to Brentford in August, and it’s likely he’ll have to wait for his next one.
Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez, both rested against West Ham, will be back against Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday and Maguire, in all likelihood, will return to the bench.
Maguire received an early booking against West Ham for a rash challenge on Michail Antonio, and he struggled with the pace and movement of the Jamaican striker. Maguire’s first touch of the night was a close-range pass into Antony that cannoned off the winger’s knee.
With Martinez and Varane cemented as Ten Hag’s first-choice pairing in defence, Maguire will be left with a decision to make in the summer. He can either stick around and wait for a rare opportunity or find another club to satisfy his desire for more games.
Best and worst performers
Best: Alejandro Garnacho, Manchester United
Showed so much calmness to control a spinning ball into the box and fire into the far corner.
Best: Said Benrahma, West Ham United
Created the best chance of the first half with a beautiful through ball from Antonio and then put West Ham ahead with a wonderful, curling finish.
Best: David De Gea, Manchester United
The goalkeeper kept Man United in the game with two big saves from Antonio.
Worst: Nayef Aguerd, West Ham United
He gifted Man United an equaliser with an own goal from Bruno Fernandes’ corner.
Worst: Antony, Manchester United
He had a quiet game and was replaced with Marcus Rashford as soon as West Ham took the lead.
Worst: Michail Antonio, West Ham United
The striker should have scored twice to put the game beyond United before their comeback.
Highlights and notable moments
West Ham left-wing Saïd Benrahma put the visitors ahead in the 54th minute with a well-taken strike.
Benrahma gives West Ham the lead over Man United 😳 pic.twitter.com/I8dqwzM1Ob
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) March 1, 2023
Marcus Rashford, who started on the bench for Manchester United, had a swift reaction to the goal, apparently eager to get into the match.
West Ham scored and Rashford immediately went for the shirt 😂 pic.twitter.com/FZELGiHVvp
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) March 1, 2023
All Man United needed to equalise, however, was an own-goal from West Ham defender Nayef Aguerd.
On a corner kick in the 77th minute, goalkeeper Alphonse Areola came out to punch the ball away but couldn’t reach it and instead it went off Aguerd’s head and into the goal.
The game-winner arrived in the 90th minute from the 18-year-old, Alejandro Garnacho.
GARNACHO GIVES MAN UNITED THE LEAD LATE 😱 pic.twitter.com/uCfnzYJIqT
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) March 1, 2023
After the match: What the managers and players said
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag on the result: “It’s very important, a massive performance from our team and where we showed our mentality. We showed we have the character to deal with difficult situations, the team can keep going with energy. It’s not about 11 players, the bench can have an impact.”
Ten Hag on Alejandro Garnacho’s goal: “Today was another step for him. I said before the game you have to have an impact as a starter and I think he is capable of that. It’s a great skill when you’re fearless and brave. There’s not so many players that can take on a player and dribble and he has more skills than that. He has a big energy and is fast and can keep on running.”
Manchester United defender Harry Maguire on the result: “We made it hard work for ourselves. We was poor in the first half, we have got to start better than that. We conceded a soft goal but it is an amazing reaction and we kept fighting and it really felt like it was coming.”
Maguire in the comeback: “The best teams never stop believing. I am not saying we are one of the best teams yet, we have a lot to do but we are getting there, we are taking steps forward we have a philosophy we were really trying to score. It felt like the Stretford End was sucking the goal in at the end there.”
Maguire on Alejandro Garnacho’s goal: “Garnacho is very good, he is a young boy with amazing talent he has got the world at his feet if he works and trains hard like he is at the moment.”
Key stats (provided by ESPN Stats & Information research)
Manchester United advance to their eighth FA Cup quarterfinals appearance in the last 9 seasons.
With their comeback against West Ham, Man United have gone unbeaten (4-0-1; W-L-D) in their last four home games in which they trailed (all competitions).
Alejandro Garnacho’s goal is his third game-winner this season in all competitions. Only Marcus Rashford has more this season for the club (11).
Manchester United: The Red Devils return to league play when they visit Liverpool on Sunday, March 5. Man United’s FA Cup will resume in the quarterfinals when they host Fulham in March 18, which will air live on ESPN+.
West Ham United: The Hammers resume their league campaign on Saturday, March 4 with a visit to Brighton.