Manchester United have been eliminated from the FA Cup after a fourth-round loss to Middlesbrough, with the visitors winning 8-7 on penalties after the game finished 1-1 in 120 minutes.
United dominated the first half and registered 13 shots to Boro’s one. Really, they should have been a few ahead at the break, but it was just 1-0, courtesy of Jadon Sancho’s deflected shot.
Cristiano Ronaldo hit a powerful penalty off target in that opening 45 minutes, while Jadon Sancho also hit the crossbar.
Chris Wilder’s men struggled in the first half but were much better in the second half and got back into the game in controversial circumstances on 64 minutes.
It was Matt Crooks who knocked the ball into the back of the net, but Duncan Watmore’s inadvertent handball in the build-up went unpunished, much to the bemusement of most inside Old Trafford.
The game ultimately finished 1-1 and required extra-time, which turned into a relatively quiet affair with United struggling to break down Middlesbrough’s organised defence.
No goals from another 30 minutes meant penalties, which again didn’t quickly determine a winner. With all 10 spot-kicks scored it went to sudden death. It was Anthony Elanga who blazed the decisive penalty over and means Middlesbrough will progress.
Manchester United player ratings
Dean Henderson- 6
Pulled off a great save to keep out Crooks’s strike on 57 minutes and could do nothing about the midfielder’s goal soon after. Henderson’s quick reactions also stopped Aaron Connolly’s close-range shot in extra-time. Overall, it was a good display between the sticks even if he didn’t have a huge amount of saves to make.
Diogo Dalot- 6
Looked good going forward and repeatedly drove down the right wing. It was another solid display from the young full-back, although his crossing was off at Old Trafford.
Harry Maguire- 5
Not the captain’s best day in a red shirt and he was pulled out of position a few times, especially in the second half. He did, however, put in a spectacular block to stop Andraz Sporar’s shot on 70 minutes.
Raphael Varane- 8 (off 91)
United’s best player on the night, he barely put a foot wrong and enjoyed total dominance in the air against Boro’s lightweight forwards. Varane also pulled off two great interception to stop passes into the box from Folarin Balogun.
Luke Shaw- 5
Struggled to deal with the runs of Isiah Jones down his side, and the goal came from a huge gap created on United’s left. The full-back looked a little off the pace after a recent absence from the team.
Scott McTominay- 6
Did well to compete physically with the opposition’s three-man midfield, especially with Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes looking to bomb forward. However, he was overrun at times, and McTominay’s passing wasn’t as sharp as it tends to normally be. He came close with a header in extra-time that was well saved by Joe Lumley.
Paul Pogba- 7 (off 82)
Playing for the first time in three months, the No.6 took a while to warm up, but then impressed as the game continued. Those delicate feints and flicks were on display again and it was his dribble into the box that resulted in United winning a first-half penalty. However, that issue with defensive discipline reared its head again after the break, with Middlesbrough finding too much space through the middle.
Marcus Rashford- 6 (off 82)
Playing from the right wing, Rashford did well without being spectacular. He had a goal ruled out for offside on the half-hour mark and smashed two shots from the edge of the box in quick succession in the first half, while his strike inside the area was fired right at Lumley after half-time.
Bruno Fernandes- 7
Was United’s creator-in-chief on the night and operated in a free role, often pulling out left. Fernandes’s runs in behind repeatedly caused Boro issues and it was his pass that set up Sancho for his goal. The No.18 saw less of the ball in the second period and should have netted when faced with an almost open net on 71 minutes, but instead he hit the post. His header in extra-time flashed narrowly over the crossbar.
Jadon Sancho- 7 (off 100)
The winger started the game impressively and hit the bar after just two minutes with a delicate chip, before bagging his first Old Trafford goal midway through the first half with a powerful strike. Sancho’s dribbling and directness caused Middlesbrough issues throughout the FA Cup tie.
Cristiano Ronaldo- 5
It was a frustrating night for the striker, who smashed a penalty wide in the first half and saw several efforts saved by Lumley. He then rippled the side netting with a strike not long after the interval, but his influence waned as the game continued.
Fred- 6 (on 82)
Added a bit more balance to midfield and helped to contribute to United’s attacks. The midfielder blasted a shot wide in extra-time.
Anthony Elanga- 5 (on 82)
He saw two headers go close in his brief cameo before 90 minutes, but in general didn’t make a huge impact.
Phil Jones- 7 (on 91)
The centre-back made his second appearance of the season and looked solid, without being asked to do much defensively. Jones looked comfortable in possession and advanced with the ball on a few occasions, and he nearly headed in the winner in injury-time of extra-time.
Juan Mata- 5 (on 100)
Didn’t have a huge amount of time to make an impression, but had a few nice touches and passes on the edge of the box.
Middlesbrough player ratings
Lumley 8; Dijksteel 6, Fry 7, McNair 6; Jones 8 (Bamba 118), Crooks 7 (Payero 78;6), Howson 7, Tavernier 7, Taylor 6 (Peltier 91;7); Sporar 7 (Connolly 91;6), Balogun 4 (Watmore 61;7).
Man of the Match
Lumley kept Middlesbrough in the game in the first half and United had nine shots on target throughout the game. That’s why he’s a well-deserved recipient of our Man of the Match award, although he didn’t save any of United’s penalties in the shootout.