Manchester United 3-1 West Ham United
Emirates FA Cup fifth round, Old Trafford, Wednesday 1 March 2023
Three late goals ended West Ham United’s 2022/23 Emirates FA Cup journey at Manchester United on Wednesday night.
Saïd Benrahma’s 54th minute strike fired the Hammers into a deserved lead at that stage, and the 6,000-strong travelling Claret and Blue Army – like their side – believed a first quarter-final in seven years was within reach.
But Manchester United, winners of the Carabao Cup at the weekend, came on strong in the closing stages to dash those hopes.
Nayef Aguerd’s unfortunate 77th-minute own goal levelled the tie, before Alejandro Garnacho’s last-minute curler and Fred’s even later effort took the game away at the death.
Fresh from the confidence boost of Saturday’s 4-0 win over Nottingham Forest, David Moyes kept with seven of his starters from that contest – and his team gave a similarly impressive showing in the first half here.
First they had to withstand a strong start from Erik ten Hag’s side, with Alphonse Areola showing a sturdy right hand, allied with razor-sharp reflexes, to push Marcel Sabitzer’s low stinger aside.
Then, with 12 minutes on the clock, Areola dived to his opposite side to turn Garnacho’s curler away after the Argentine cut inside from his station on the left flank to shoot.
West Ham soon settled and fashioned a glorious chance to open the scoring midway through the half when, with centre-backs Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelöf split, Benrahma played the ball between the pair to set Michail Antonio free. David de Gea stood his ground, however, to deny the No9.
Five minutes later, Declan Rice, Paquetà and Benrahma combined beautifully for the Brazilian to shoot from outside the box. De Gea was equal to the effort again.
The Hammers were getting into excellent positions without quite finding the finishing touch, and ten minutes before the break Benrahma advanced into the box and slowed the game down, allowing Emerson to overlap to his left. The No22 passed to his teammate, but nobody was there to convert the low cross which followed.
West Ham would have been the happier at the break, and the first opportunity after the break also fell to them. Benrahma hung a looping cross to the back post, where Tomáš Souček’s downward header needed a strong hand from de Gea.
The goalkeeper was powerless to prevent Benrahma from breaking the deadlock on 54 minutes though, as West Ham worked a throw-in on the left back to Emerson. He fed Benrahma inside the box and the No22 did the rest, smashing into the top right-hand corner.
Pablo Fornals and Antonio both went close to doubling the lead, Fornals when he drilled just wide of the far post at a set piece and Antonio when he breezed past Lisandro Martínez, advanced into the box and was again denied by de Gea.
The hosts had already introduced Casemiro, Martínez and Marcus Rashford from the bench, and the former thought he had levelled on 72 minutes when he got his head on a Bruno Fernandes free-kick to beat Areola. A VAR intervention showed the substitute was offside.
West Ham’s reprieve was only a temporary one, though, as the Red Devils’ next set-piece, five minutes later, did lead to their equaliser.
Fernandes again provided the delivery, this time from a corner, and the unfortunate Aguerd diverted into his own net.
The home crowd were buoyed and West Ham were sent to a cruel defeat right at the death when Wout Weghorst’s blocked shot fell kindly for Garnacho, whose first touch killed the ball inside the area and the second curled into the far corner.
To rub salt into the wounds, Fred then seized upon some loose defending to fire home a third for his side five minutes into stoppage time.
Manchester United: De Gea, Dalot, Lindelöf (Martínez 58), Maguire ©, Malacia, McTominay (Casemiro 46), Sabitzer (Fred 86), Antony (Rashford 58), Fernandes, Garnacho (Varane 90+3), Weghorst
Subs: Heaton (GK), Wan-Bissaka, Elanga, Pellistri
Goals: Aguerd og 77, Garnacho 90, Fred 90+5
Booked: Maguire, McTominay
West Ham United: Areola, Johnson, Aguerd, Ogbonna, Emerson, Rice ©, Souček, Paquetá, Fornals (Bowen 74), Benrahma, Antonio (Scamacca 86)
Subs: Anang (GK), Cresswell, Kehrer, Swyer, Downes, Lanzini, Mubama
Goal: Benrahma 54
Referee: Michael Salisbury