Lethargic Manchester United reach FA Cup semis

Manchester United are through to the semi-finals of the FA Cup thanks to a 2-0 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Five days on from being knocked out of the Champions League by Sevilla, the Red Devils were once again far from their best in an attacking sense but still got the job done on this occasion.

Nemanja Matic played a part in both United goals, setting up Romelu Lukaku for the first and netting the second himself in the final 10 minutes to kill off a cup tie that failed to truly get going.

Jose Mourinho made a big selection call by leaving out Alexis Sanchez in one of five changes from the loss to Sevilla, but the fresh legs did not appear to bring fresh impetus in a bland opening quarter to the match.

The game did spark into life with half an hour played, however, as recalled duo Anthony Martial and Juan Mata exchanged a number of passes inside the box before the latter sent a deflected shot wide.

From the resulting corner, the ball fell to the feet of Chris Smalling but he could only send it back off the outside of the upright after finally adjusting his feet.

Brighton enjoyed the odd spell of prolonged possession as they went in search of just a second win in 18 attempts against tonight’s opponents, coming close to making a breakthrough when Lewis Dunk powered a header on target for Sergio Romero to push aside.

Lukaku gave the home side a lead to protect with eight minutes of the first half to play, though, by making the most of a fine first-time delivery from Matic at the back post to head the ball past Tim Krul.

United’s record of having yet to concede in this season’s FA Cup came under serious threat in the opening 15 minutes of the second half, as Pascal Gross’s outside-of-the-boot attempt deflected inches wide and Romero was forced to make a few stops.

Having failed to get a single shot away of any note between halftime and the 83rd minute, United finally killed the game off when Matic watched Ashley Young’s free kick all the way and guided it past Krul via his head.