Manchester United booked a spot in the Emirates FA Cup fourth round in dramatic fashion thanks to Wayne Rooney’s injury-time winner.
Louis van Gaal’s men dominated the 90 minutes but, up until added time, could not find a way past the dogged League One side who defended resolutely but rarely ventured over the half-way line.
It was left to Rooney to break Blades’ hearts though when he drilled home a 93rd-minute penalty after substitute Memphis Depay had been fouled in the area.
Van Gaal made three changes to the side that beat Swansea City with Matteo Darmian, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Marouane Fellaini all coming into the starting XI in place of the injured and rested Ashley Young, Phil Jones and Morgan Schneiderlin. Van Gaal had spoken of his desire before the game to lead the Reds on a good run in the competition, having cited it as the most exciting cup around. He knew getting past Sheffield United would not be an easy task though given the fact the Blades were unbeaten in their last seven away FA Cup ties, winning five.
A scrappy opening 15 minutes in the driving rain was followed by the first real bits of action at either end. First, Blades’ Conor Sammon drew a good save from David De Gea after some excellent control and a well-struck drive – although referee Jonathan Moss adjudged that Sammon had handled it. At the other end, Rooney flicked the ball around Blades keeper George Long but was unable to find a team-mate in the area with Long stranded.
Rooney found himself through again 11 minutes before the break after an incisive pass from Ander Herrera, but Long dived at the United captain’s feet to grasp the ball. Seconds later, Bastian Schweinsteiger went to ground in the box under a risky challenge from Jay McEveley after getting on the end of a Daley Blind crossfield pass, but the referee waved away the penalty protests.