Manchester United comeback to beat nine-man Fulham in ill-tempered FA Cup quarter-final

Aleksandar Mitrovic and Willian were sent off before Manchester United equalised from the resulting penalty - Getty Images/Clive Brunskill

Aleksandar Mitrovic and Willian were sent off before Manchester United equalised from the resulting penalty – Getty Images/Clive Brunskill

By James Ducker at Old Trafford

Fulham’s hopes of a first FA Cup semi-final for 21 years self-destructed during a crazy seven minutes when they had two players and manager Marco Silva sent off as Manchester United came from behind to win in dramatic circumstances.

Silva’s side were leading 1-0 thanks to Aleksandar Mitrovic’s 50th-minute goal and dreaming of a Wembley date with Brighton only to implode amid shocking scenes at Old Trafford.

After Willian handled Jadon Sancho’s shot on the goalline in the 70th minute, referee Chris Kavanagh was sent to the pitchside monitor by Var Neil Swarbrick.

But before Kavanagh had even reviewed the footage and decided to award United a penalty, Silva shouted something at the referee and promptly sent off, and sparked mayhem in the process.

Kavanagh then signalled for a penalty and showed Willian a red card for his actions only to be accosted and shoved by Mitrovic seconds later. Mitrovic brandished another red card immediately, at which point Fulham’s striker completely lost his head and began hounding the referee.

A huge melee ensued with players from both sides involved as Mitrovic continued to tear into Kavanagh. At one stage, Fulham’s first team coach, Luis Boa Morte entered the pitch and tried to drag Mitrovic away, only for the striker to go back for more.

When order was finally restored, Bruno Fernandes coolly dispatched the penalty to draw United level and, two minutes later, Erik ten Hag’s team were ahead, Marcel Sabitzer scoring his first goal for the club as he turned home Luke Shaw’s cross. Fernandes added his second and United’s third deep into stoppage time to compound Fulham’s misery.

Manchester United vs Fulham: As it happened. . .

06:57 PM

So it’s clear his red card

Was perhaps the result of frustration that Fulham didn’t get what he sees as the rub of the green in the first half.

06:55 PM

Marco Silva speaks to ITV…

When asked whether he and his side imploded…

“Let’s talk about all the game and not just one moment. Until the penalty [it was] clear we were the best team on the pitch – clear. The red card was a decision that Var can make. What is difficult for us to understand is why the two moments in their box in the first half: one of them is a clear penalty on Mitrovic, and no one checks, no one wants to see anything…”

Specifically on his red card…

“If  you ask me if I did something that I am happy with, of course. If you ask me whether it should be a red card, I have big doubts. I would like to know what the referee will write [in his report] about what I said to him.”

06:50 PM

The handball

Having just looked at the penalty incident again it does seem as though, perhaps, Sancho’s shot wasn’t definitely on target (to add more intrigue to an already bizarre situation).

06:47 PM

Not only are Fulham out of the FA Cup

But those red cards will now affect their push for a European spot – could be a costly minute of madness.

06:41 PM

More of that Sabizter interview with ITV – ‘

On the victory…

“Massive win. We wanted to go back to Wembley, we did it. 1-0 down it was hard and tough but we came back and won it…I think it was a deserved win. We came back and that’s the important thing.”

On the penalty decision…

“I haven’t seen it. The referee said it so we go with it. I’m focused on the game. I’ve seen it. It was easier for us. We had to be focused on the game and the result.”

On finding the back of the net for the first time at Old Trafford…

“Massive. I’m so happy. An important one. I’m very, very happy now.”

06:38 PM

Playing against 10 can be hard…

…playing against nine, not so much.

Here’s how Fernandes sealed the win.

06:34 PM

Marcel Sabizter on whether United won it or Fulham lost it…

“We won it, we scored three, they scored one.”

That’s Gabriel Clarke (ITV interviewer) told…

Hard to agree with the Manchester United midfielder, though…

By the way, here’s his well-taken goal.

06:32 PM

How Fulham went from 1-0 up…

…to conceding a penalty and going down to nine men.


06:28 PM

FULL-TIME: Manchester United 3-1 Fulham

Well, that was entertaining…Fulham were well on top until the drama started by Willian’s handball. The minute that followed saw a penalty given to United, three red cards shown to the visitors, and effectively the end of any hopes Fulham had of making it to the semi-finals.

I need to lie down – and I suspect I am not the only one…

06:26 PM


Manchester United 3-1 Fulham (Fernandes)

That most definitely is match over. Fulham run out of numbers, overrun in the final third and Fernandes decides to put his laces through the ball to give Leno no chance in the visitors’ goal.

06:25 PM

93 mins: Manchester United 2-1 Fulham

Fulham are in the United half. They have a thrown but are hassled all they way back into their own half.

As if to illustrate that before that minute of madness the visitors were the better side, the man-of-the-match has been announced by ITV’s Lee Dixon (Robin, to Sam Matterface’s Batman…) as Palinha, who has been brilliant and dominated the midfield (with help from Reed).

06:22 PM

92 mins: Manchester United 2-1 Fulham

Fulham’s only hope is to launch the ball into the Manchester United box and hope the hosts forget how to play the game…

06:20 PM

89 mins: Manchester United 2-1 Fulham

Fulham make four changes which is half their outfield players…

There will be seven minutes added time.

06:16 PM

83 mins: Manchester United 2-1 Fulham

The hosts are toying with the visitors now – they know the game is won and with a two-man advantage there’s very little threat Fulham can offer.

06:15 PM

A minute of madness

Sancho’s shot is going in before…

Sando Willian - AFPSando Willian - AFP

Sando Willian – AFP

Willian handles it on the line before a penalty is given and he’s sent off…

Willian - ReutersWillian - Reuters

Willian – Reuters

Marco Silva then has a strong word with the ref and gets a red card for his troubles…

Marco Silva - Getty ImagesMarco Silva - Getty Images

Marco Silva – Getty Images

Then Mitrovic is also shown the exit…

MItrovic - Getty ImagesMItrovic - Getty Images

MItrovic – Getty Images

06:07 PM


Manchester United 2-1 Fulham (Sabitzer)

This tie has been  turned on it’s head in the matter of minutes

United have a two-man advantage and use it brilliantly. They work the overlap on the left – Sancho feeding Shaw, who then puts in a low cross that Sabizter brilliantly gets on the end of and United are going back to Wembley to face Brighton in the last four. (barring more unexpected drama…)

06:06 PM


Manchester United 1-1 Fulham (Fernandes)

The Portuguese sends Leno the wrong way. Ad this tie is unravelling for Fulham.

06:05 PM

Penalty to Man Utd and three red cards for Fulham!

DRAMA at Old Tafford. Sancho is played in by Antony. He’s one-on-one with Leno, the winger calmly rounds Leno before shooting towards the goal. But before it can hit the back of the net Willian handles it. After Kavanagh is told to look at the monitor by Var the hosts are given a penalty and Willian is shown a red card.

BUT Mitrovic is also off. He’s remonstrated with Chris Kavanagh, pushed him and lost his head.

Meanwhile, Marco Silva has also been sent off for also remonstrating with the ref while he was looking at the monitor.

So Fulham are down to nine men, and also has their coach sent off.

Three red cards in 40 seconds – bonkers.

05:59 PM

66 mins: Manchester United 0-1 Fulham

There’s a bit more urgency to the hosts the past few minutes – first Antony earns a free-kick from which Sancho’s shot goes just wide. Then Rashford is played in by Shaw and Leno comes out brilliantly to save.

05:56 PM

65 mins: Manchester United 0-1 Fulham

Free-kick for Fulham in the final third on the right. Pereira delivers a pin-point set piece that Mitrovic again gets on the end of. His header is destined for the far corner of the net before De Gea, at full stretch and horizontal, palms the ball away.

05:54 PM

62 mins: Manchester United 0-1 Fulham

Another decent move from Fulham. Willian drive into midfield, gets the better of Wan-Bissaka before playing it wide to Tete on the right. As they have done all game they don’t even think before delivering it into the box where Mitrovic gets a header in on goal. The attempt falls into the arms of a grateful De Gea.

Fulham are still the more likely of the teams to score from here.

05:50 PM

60 mins: Manchester United 0-1 Fulham

Corner for the hosts – can they create anything from this? No – is the answer but they earn another and that too comes to nothing as Leno comes to collect Fernandes’ delivery.

05:49 PM

57 mins: Manchester United 0-1 Fulham

Change for Man Utd: Antony is on for McTominey. That means Sacnho will go to the left, the Brazilian to the right and Rashford up front.

05:48 PM

Magic from Mitrovic

Mitronvic puts Fulham 1-0 up at Old Trafford - Reuters/Carl RecineMitronvic puts Fulham 1-0 up at Old Trafford - Reuters/Carl Recine

Mitronvic puts Fulham 1-0 up at Old Trafford – Reuters/Carl Recine

05:46 PM

54 mins: Manchester United 0-1 Fulham

Flat is the best word I can describe this United performance – they’ve lacked spark all match and if there’s going to be another goal here you strongly fancy it will go the way of Fulham.

05:42 PM

50 mins: Manchester United 0-1 Fulham

That goal has been coming – United were flat in the first half and have been flat since the break. Fulham have been banging on the door most of the match and have deserved that goal.

05:41 PM


Manchester United 0-1 Fulham (Mitrovic)

From this corner they manage to find the back of the net. The flick on from Diop, I think, is met by Mitrovic just yards out and he makes no mistake and his nine-game goal drought is over.

05:39 PM

47 mins: Manchester United 0-0 Fulham

Good chance for Fulham that comes virtue of a great challenge from the ever-impressive Palhinha. That gets the ball to Willian in the box who, instead of pulling the trigger, sets up Robinson whose shot is saved by De Gea.

From the resulting corner the ball again comes to Willian who, as he tends to, cuts onto his right and shots from outside the box forcing De Gea into an even better save.

It’s another corner for the visitors…

05:35 PM

45 mins: Manchester United 0-0 Fulham

You expect United to react to that poor first half – can they wake up?

05:25 PM

Half-time verdict from James Ducker at Old Trafford

A solid first half from Fulham. They started much the brighter and had a couple of early sights at goal with De Gea tipping over a header from Diop and Willian shooting wide from an inviting position after a good move.

United came back into as the half progressed but haven’t hit top gear, despite one or two well worked moves, notably in the final seconds that culminated in a McTominay effort being deflected wide.

United’s stand out player has been Lisandro Martinez. His passing has been excellent and he’s formidable in the challenge, as Mitrovic found on when dumped on his backside after a perfectly timed tackle from the Argentine. His centre-half partner Harry Maguire? Much less convincing and was booked for man-handling Mitrovic to the ground.

05:23 PM

HALF-TIME: Manchester United 0-0 Fulham

Man Utd came into the half more and more the longer it went on. But that doesn’t hide the fact that Fulham have been the better side. They’ve been first to most balls and on the balance of things probably deserve to be ahead. During his short time at Old Trafford Ten Hag has built a deserved reputation as someone who can changes things well when he has to. Well, he has to now.

05:20 PM

46 mins: Manchester United 0-0 Fulham

Great move from United – it’s only taken 46 minutes to come – as the ball comes into the box,Weghorst tees up Sancho who then tees up McTominey whose shot is blocked by the impressive Ream. You wonder whetehr Sancho should have pulled the trigger himself.

05:16 PM

43 mins: Manchester United 0-0 Fulham

There will be two minutes added time this half as Tete tires his luck from distance for Fulham. The attempt was a bit fanciful and it goes, predictably, well wide.

05:13 PM

40 mins: Manchester United 0-0 Fulham

Sancho is set free on the left by Fernandes but for some reason he slows down and the chance appears to have gone. But he bides his time before playing in Sabitzer whose cross is eventually well dealt with by Fulham.

The hosts are creating a few half-chances here.

05:11 PM

39 mins: Manchester United 0-0 Fulham

The ball comes to Sabitzer by mistake but the Man Utd midfielder does look this gift horse in the mouth as he as a go at goal. Leno gets well behind it though and it stay 0-0.

05:07 PM

Here’s a pic of that penalty shout earlier

Looks good – but no chance it was a pen.

Mitrovic falls under the attention of Martinez - Shutterstock/Matt West Mitrovic falls under the attention of Martinez - Shutterstock/Matt West

Mitrovic falls under the attention of Martinez – Shutterstock/Matt West

05:06 PM

34 mins: Manchester United 0-0 Fulham

A move that sort of sums up the half for the hosts. Wan-Bissaka and Sancho combine on the right before the move peters out to nothing as the ball crosses the byline. Something needs to change for United.

05:03 PM

30 mins: Manchester United 0-0 Fulham

Half-chance for United – Rashford is played in in the inside-left channel but he, for once, has a heavy touch and that gives Leno the opportunity to rush off his line and smother the stabbed attempt.

05:02 PM

28 mins: Manchester United 0-0 Fulham

Another decent delivery from a wide area from Fulham. Whenever, they find width they are content to just get it in the danger area and this time Robinson crosses for Mitrovic who cannot get an attempt in on goal

04:58 PM

25 mins: Manchester United 0-0 Fulham

MItrovic goes to ground in the United box after a challenge from Martinez, the ref, Chris Kavanagh, waves play on and Var, which also has a gander, agrees. As do I, for what it’s worth, there was nothing much in that coming together.

04:56 PM

Sporting royalty is in the house

Usain Bolt is a huge Manchester United fan. Wonder what he makes of the opening quarter?

Usain Bolt at Old Trafford - PA/Martin RickettUsain Bolt at Old Trafford - PA/Martin Rickett

Usain Bolt at Old Trafford – PA/Martin Rickett

04:54 PM

22 mins: Manchester United 0-0 Fulham

Rashford is out on the left and delivers a good ball in that is just beyond Weghorst. Better from the hosts.

04:52 PM

18 mins: Manchester United 0-0 Fulham

Fulham are continuing to dominate possession and territory – United are sitting back too much and the crowd are letting them know. Meanwhile, Mitrovic gets the better of Maguire, forces the foul and the United man get shown a yellow card. That means he won’t be able to play in the semi-final should his side make it, which going on the fir 18 minutes, at least, they won’t…but there’s a long way to go.

04:48 PM

15 mins: Manchester United 0-0 Fulham

Two good chances for Fulham in a matter of minutes – the first comes vis the industry and persistence of Reed. He bullies Martinez but is unable to find Peirera in the middle. Then Ream, the centre back, delivers the perfect ball from the left that beats everyone.

Fulham are besting United to everything at the moment, probably deserve a goal and the hosts need to wake up.

04:45 PM

11 mins: Manchester United 0-0 Fulham

Wan-Bissaka defends well for the hosts who immediately break at pace through the fighter-jet speed of Rashford. He gets his head up and plays in Weghorst. The much-maligned Dutchman cuts inside and hits it from outside the box straight into the arms of Leno in the Fulham goal. Weghorst didn’t catch that.

04:42 PM

10 mins: Manchester United 0-0 Fulham

After a stoppage so that Fernandes can be seen to play resumes. That break was the best part of two minutes and may well be exactly what the hosts needed to slow the pace of the match down and disrupt the early momentum of Fulham.

04:40 PM

8 mins: Manchester United 0-0 Fulham

Fulham still on top – they win the ball on halfway, the ball comes to their danger man Pereira who drives towards the box before playing a diagonal ball to Mitrovic who lays it off to Willian. The Brazilian hits it first time – it’s a decent chance but one that goes begging with the attempt going well wide.

04:36 PM

6 mins: Manchester United 0-0 Fulham

The hosts have barely been in the Fulham half who have started well both with and without the ball. They are pressing United who are yet to get into this contest.

04:35 PM

4 mins: Manchester United 0-0 Fulham

Only four minutes gone and already, by my count, Fulham have got the ball in the box five times. Impressive start from the west Londoners.

04:33 PM

2 mins: Manchester United 0-0 Fulham

Early half chance for the visitors – Mitrovic finds a bit of space on the right and immediately gets in a cross for Pereira but McTominay does brilliantly to get in front of the attacker.

Then a minute or so later Diop, still up from the resulting corner, gets in a header that De Gea saves well.

It’s clear that Fulham’s aim is to get the ball in the box as much as possible and put the hosts under pressure.

04:30 PM

1 min: Manchester United 0-0 Fulham

They’re under way at Old Trafford – both side are in their traditional home colours.

04:27 PM

The players are out on the pitch

And we’re moments away from kick-off.

04:24 PM

There’s never been an all-Manchester FA Cup final

But the red side of the city need to get past Fulham and then Brighton before they can think about that possibility.

04:19 PM

The draw for the semi-finals has been drawn

Manchester United and Fulham are battling for the right to play Brighton.

So the draw is…

Brighton vs Man United or Fulham

Man City vs Sheffield United

04:17 PM

So we know who three of the last four are…

Manchester City, Sheffield United and Brighton.

Who will join them?

Brighton have just beaten Grimsby 5-0 to make the FA Cup semis - PA/Andrew MatthewsBrighton have just beaten Grimsby 5-0 to make the FA Cup semis - PA/Andrew Matthews

Brighton have just beaten Grimsby 5-0 to make the FA Cup semis – PA/Andrew Matthews

04:05 PM

Those teams in black and white

MANCHESTER UNITED XI TO FACE FULHAM: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Martinez, Shaw, Fernandes, Sabitzer, Sancho, McTominay, Rashford, Weghorst.

Subs: Butland, Dalot, Lindelof, Malacia, Fred, Mainoo, Pellistri, Antony, Elanga

Erik ten Hag has made four changes to the side that beat Real Betis in the Europa League on Thursday. Casemiro is suspended and is replaced by Marcel Sabitzer, while Luke Shaw, Jadon Sancho and Scott McTominay come in for Tyrell Malacia, Facundo Pellistri and Fred.

FULHAM XI TO FACE MANCHESTER UNITED: Leno, Tete, Diop, Ream, Robinson, Reed, Palinha, De Cordova-Reid, Pereira, Willian, Mitrovic.

Subs: Rodak, Wilson, James, Tosin, Cedric, Lukic, Cairney, Solomon, Vinicius.

There are three changes to the XI beaten 3-0 by Arsenal. for the visitors – Issa Diop, Joao Palhinha and Willian replace Tosin Adarabioyo, Sasa Lukic and Manor Solomon.

03:50 PM

Here be Fulham

03:49 PM

Here’s the Manchester United XI

03:43 PM

Erik ten Hag hungry for more silverware

Erik ten Hag wants winning trophies to become like waiting for London buses as he’s told his Manchester United players to use their Carabao Cup triumph as motivation to go all the way in the FA Cup.

The Old Trafford club host Fulham in the last-eight today barely a month after they ended their six-year trophy drought by beating Newcastle at Wembley. And The Dutchman has his sights set on another bit of silverware success at the famous stadium this season.

“Of course, it is huge motivation,” he said. “We all really enjoyed Wembley, we all really enjoyed winning a trophy and it has to be the fuel for the next one, get pushed by that idea, and that has to bring extra energy to beat Fulham.

“We have to after Sunday set conclusions but we are now in three leagues competing and we want to stay in those, so Sunday is a massive game for us.

He added: “We have to set a winning culture. We are Manchester United, we have to win all the games, we have to compete in all the leagues. That is the mentality.”

Marcus Rashford again stole the headlines on Thursday with the winner in the second leg of their Europa League tie against Real Betis taking his tally for the season to 30 goals for club and country.

Nineteen of those have come since the World Cup and Ten Hag said: “He progressed during the season.

“He was also not in the best shape when he started the season but the way of playing gives him a base and then he brings his skills in and his attitude and mentality, and that is bringing him a lot of progress and that brings the team a lot of joy and gives Marcus a lot of goals and us a lot of wins.”

Stay here for all the team news, build up and action from Old Trafford.

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