Four the love of United

Man U keep ti­tle de­fence go­ing while FA Cup claims more top tier clubs

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - REUTERS AND DPA

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.

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