Manchester United progressed to the fifth round of the Emirates FA Cup with an entertaining victory over Derby County at a wintry iPro Stadium on Friday night.
Wayne Rooney gave the Reds the lead with a wonderful early goal – his sixth strike in as many games – but Derby equalised against the run of play before half-time through George Thorne.
However, Louis van Gaal’s side, who dominated much of the game, were not to be deterred and Daley Blind netted smartly midway through the second half, before Juan Mata added a late third to secure United’s place in Sunday’s draw.
Van Gaal made two changes to the side that started against Southampton last weekend, with Guillermo Varela coming in for Matteo Darmian and Mata replacing Ander Herrera. A deafening roar greeted kick-off, with 5,471 noisy visiting fans – United’s biggest away end of the season – more than playing their part, as they proceeded to roll through a traditional repertoire that included a tribute to Nemanja Vidic following the Serbian’s retirement.
In a bright start by the Reds, Anthony Martial had a good early chance, firing over from just inside the box. But it didn’t take much longer for the Reds to open the scoring – and in superb fashion, as Rooney cut inside to bend a shot into the far corner just after the quarter-hour mark.
With the Championship promotion-chasers seemingly content to sit back and grant United possession, van Gaal’s sharp-looking side continued to probe and Martial narrowly failed to control a return pass from Rooney that would have left the Frenchman one-on-one with goalkeeper Scott Carson.