Report: Romelu Lukaku fires Manchester United into the FA Cup quarter final

Manchester United beat Huddersfield Town 2-0 in the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday evening. It was Romelu Lukaku who scored both goals – the first in the third minute of the match, the second ten minutes into the second half. Juan Mata and Alexis Sanchez assisted the goals. United could have scored another with Mata finding the back of the net at the end of the first half but VAR ruled it out.

Jose Mourinho made many changes to his side after the defeat to Newcastle United last weekend. Sergio Romero replaced David De Gea, Ashley Young replaced Antonio Valencia, Victor Lindelof came in for Phil Jones, Luke Shaw came in at left-back – previously held by Young.

Michael Carrick replaced Paul Pogba as Nemanja Matic’s partner. Scott McTominay replaced Jesse Lingard. Juan Mata, Romelu Lukaku, and Alexis Sanchez would lead the attack. Mourinho also included Joel Pereira on the bench alongside both Angel Gomes and Ethan Hamilton, who both played last night.

United started the game well and were looking regain some form after the defeat to Newcastle last weekend. United took first blood in the game with Romelu Lukaku scoring in the third minute of the match. Juan Mata found some space, rolled a weighted ball to the Belgian with Lukaku beating his man, striking his shot into the corner of the net. Just a start United and Mourinho needed.

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Three minutes later Huddersfield had a chance through Tom Ince but he struck his shot too early and pulled it across the face of the goal. Huddersfield then started to pin United back in their own half, seemingly looking for a response from conceding the early goal. United then settled into the rhythm of the game with Michael Carrick starting to orchestrate his side.

United again started to become the second-best side in the game with Huddersfield getting forward, pressuring Luke Shaw in the home sides right-hand side of the pitch. Huddersfield had four shots in goal in the opening 15 minutes of the match with United having one and scoring it. United had a good chance in the 25th minute with Sanchez and Mata combining but it came to nothing.

In the 33rd minute of the match, United were being pressured again with Matic and Carrick getting moved all over the pitch with Huddersfield picking up the ball with Philip Billings from 30-yards and launching his effort towards the top corner with Romero making the catch look like an easy one. A few minutes later there was a bit of a lull in the game.

With four minutes of the half remaining, Sanchez tried to clip the ball into the path of Mata but the danger was cleared by the hosts. United scored a second through Mata in the last minute of the half and the linesman did not flag it up. A VAR decision was made and the goal was ruled out for offside as Mata’s knee was offside. United were still 1-0 to the good.

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Four minutes of stoppage time were played at the end of the first half, Matic volleyed Sanchez’s free-kick but it was another goal not given because of offside. United could have been three goals to the good at the end of the first half, not that it would be a deserved lead. Still, United went into the break 1-0 up and with all to play for in the second half.

At the start of the second half, there were no changes by either team. United broke forward but then Huddersfield attacked United’s half. In the 50th minute of the match, the home side won a free-kick at the edge of the box. Tom Ince took the free-kick but United cleared the threat with the home side pressuring with United making a block in the box to deny an attempt at an equaliser.

United scored their second goal of the game in the 55th minute of the match with Lukaku scoring his 21st goal of the season for his club. Huddersfield had played a high-line throughout the match and it was the second time they got caught out. Sanchez threaded a lovely pass to the Belgian, who stayed cool and put his low effort past the Huddersfield goalkeeper.

United had started to take more control of the game inside the last twenty minutes with Huddersfield seemingly starting to tire. In the 76th minute of the match, Mourinho made his first change with Anthony Martial replacing Sanchez. United made their second change in the 80th minute of the match with Jesse Lingard replacing Juan Mata.

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Huddersfield had the chance to get back into the game in the 84th minute of the match but United cleared the effort. United were seemingly though to the quarter-final draw, which will take place immediately after the match. Mourinho was readying Eric Bailly, who had returned to fitness ahead of this game after missing the last four or so months of action.

Bailly replaced Lukaku three minutes into stoppage time, making his long-awaited return to action which will boost Mourinho’s defensive options ahead of the important UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg away to Sevilla on Wednesday evening. United will find out who they will face on the quarter-final of the Emirates FA Cup shortly.

Key Moments:

3′ Juan Mata found some space and passed a well-weighted ball to Romelu Lukaku, who beat his man, brushing him aside with ease, firing his shot into the corner of the net. United were 1-0 to the good inside three minutes.

45′ Juan Mata rolled the ball into the back of the net, which was empty after rounding Jonas Lossl. The linesman did not raise his flag but after a minute or so a VAR decision was made and the goal was disallowed as Mata’s knee was offside.

45+4′ Alexis Sanchez won a free-kick for United which resulted in Nemanja Matic volleying the ball into the back of the net – but the goal was the second in a few minutes to be ruled for offside.

55′ Romelu Lukaku scored his second goal of the game and his 21st goal of the season. Alexis Sanchez threaded a superb ball through to the Belgian, who kept his cool and slotted his shot past the Huddersfield goalkeeper.

90+3′ Eric Bailly made his long-awaited return to action after four months out of the game, replacing Romelu Lukaku but only having one touch of the ball, which is not really a problem. The main thing being Jose Mourinho has another defensive option as the UEFA Champions League returns on Wednesday.

Man of the Match: Romelu Lukaku

In a week where so-called United supporters were calling for Romelu Lukaku to be benched, sold even sacked, on social media anyway, the Belgian showed his class yet again to score a brace to see United earn a place in the quarter-finals of the Emirates FA Cup this season. Lukaku did not have the best of games early on, but when it mattered he broke forward twice to score the much-needed goals.

Lukaku has now scored 21 goals in all competitions this season, the same amount of goals as Alvaro Morata and Alexandre Lacazette combined. Lukaku has been a decent goalscorer this season as United have improved severely with him and other players this season. The media will tell you different though as United have not improved and are still rubbish. Now is the time to support your team.

Match Statistics:

Goals: Romelu Lukaku 3′, 55′

Assists: Juan Mata 3′, Alexis Sanchez 55′

Manchester United: Romero; Young, Lindelof, Smalling, Shaw; Matic, Carrick, McTominay; Mata (Lingard 80′), Lukaku (Bailly 90+3), Sanchez (Martial 76′)

Substitutes Not Used: Pereira; Darmian; Gomes, Hamilton

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