Four the love of United
Man U keep title defence going while FA Cup claims more top tier clubs
DEFENDING champions, Manchester United moved into the last 16 of the FA Cup with a convincing 4-0 win over Wigan, while top-flight rivals Watford and Hull crashed out away to lower-league teams yesterday. Headers from Marouane Fellaini and Chris Smalling either side of halftime got United rolling.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan then made it 3-0 off a counter-attack and Bastian Schweinsteiger, back in Jose Mourinho’s good graces after being dropped by the manager earlier this season, wrapped up the scoring.
“We’ve seen this weekend a lot of top teams have gone out so it’s good we’re still in the cup,” Smalling said after the game alluding to much more fancied opposition falling to ‘weaker’ teams this past weekend.
Watford and Hull, and Championship club Leeds United, paid the penalty for fielding weakened teams. Like Liverpool, beaten at home by Wolves the previous day, they miscalculated in resting so many players ahead of league games in midweek and could have no complaints at going out of the competition.
Watford lost 1-0 to League One (third tier) side Millwall and on the other side of London, Hull, FA Cup finalists three years ago, were humbled 4-1 by Championship (second tier) side Fulham after missing two late penalties.
Leeds, fourth in the Championship, lost 1-0 to Sutton United, who joined fellow fifthtier National League club Lincoln City in the last 16.
Millwall, who beat another understrength Premier League team, Bournemouth, in the previous round, fully deserved the win, earned for them with a goal by Steve Morison in the 85th minute.
Watford’s manager Walter Mazzarri made seven changes, including experienced players like captain Troy Deeney, and midfielders Etienne Capoue and Tom Cleverley among the substitutes.
Without joint top scorers Deeney and Capoue, they struggled to make genuine chances, coming close only when a free kick by Adlene Guedioura was glanced against the far post by Millwall defender Shaun Cummings.
They also failed to convince the referee about two strong penalty appeals either side of half-time.
“We’re a good honest bunch who work hard,” goalscorer Morison said after the game. Manager Neil Harris felt his mid-table League One team fully deserved their victory over a side 40 places above them. “We could easily have been three or four up by half-time,” he said.
“This club and this team epitomise what the FA Cup is all about.” At Craven Cottage, Hull, who had made six changes, fell behind to a goal by their former forward Sone Aluko after 16 minutes.
Evandro headed an equaliser four minutes into the second half, but Chris Martin, on loan from Derby County, soon restored the lead. Promising youngster Ryan Sessegnon added a third goal and with 12 minutes left Stefan Johansen scored a fourth. Hull’s Abel Hernandez then had two penalties saved by goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli in the space of a minute to round off a bad day.
Leeds fielded almost a complete reserve team on the artificial pitch at Sutton and found the non-Leaguers, 84 places below them, too strong. Captain Jamie Collins, pictured, scored the only goal from a penalty after 53 minutes and Leeds finished with only 10 men when their own captain, Liam Cooper, was sent off.