Derby County’s hopes of reaching the quarterfinals of the FA Cup for the first time in more than two decades were dashed at Pride Park as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United beat them 3-0. The win, secured thanks to a brace from Nigerian forward Odion Ighalo, means that there will no be EFL teams (Championship or lower) in the last eight of the FA Cup.
There were six lower division teams left in the competition when the draw for the fifth round was made, but none of them were able to progress further. Reading came the closest- they took Sheffield United to extra time before falling to a Billy Sharp goal.
A crowd of 31,379 was present at Pride Park hoping for an upset, and it was the home side who started stronger, with Wayne Rooney’s free kick having to be saved by Sergio Romero.
It was United however who drew first blood, with full back Luke Shaw’s attempted shot bouncing on the ground and taking a wicked bounce into the far corner past Derby keeper Kelle Roos. Eight minutes later, Shaw was again in action, with his precise pass splitting the Rams defence and finding Odion Ighalo, who showed good strength against Craig Forsyth and Max Lowe before effecting a smart finish to put the visitors 2-0 up.
At half time, United were 2-0 up, and a part of Solskjaer’s mind would’ve been focusing on their upcoming clash against rivals City. Pep Guardiola’s side, as many pundits had predicted, were too good for Villa in the League Cup final, and will again be keen to make a statement against the Red Devils on Sunday.
United were given an early wake-up call in the second half when Rooney’s inch perfect cross found Martyn Waghorn, but the striker agonisingly headed wide with the goal at his mercy.
Ighalo however finished the game off with his second, scored in the 70th minute after his initial shot had been blocked. The Nigerian played the full 90 as United comfortably sealed their 9th straight win against Derby in this competition, and booked a quarterfinal spot against Norwich, who had upset Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham on penalties in their clash.
Derby County 0-3 Manchester United (Luke Shaw 33, Odion Ighalo 41, Odion Ighalo second 70′)
Referee: Craig Pawson (Attendance 31,379)