Fulham red card chaos helps Manchester United comeback to win 3-1 at Old Trafford

Aleksandar Mitrovic put the visitors ahead, but a triple sending off for Marco Silva, Mitrovic and Willian gave United the momentum.

Bruno Fernandes scored the equaliser, before Marcel Sabitzer put United ahead.

United’s Portuguese midfielder doubled his tally to give United a 3-1 victory over the South-London side.

Having won the FA cup 12 times, United would be looking to add another to equal Arsenal’s record 13 wins in this competition.

However, Fulham, who sit ninth in the Premier League, would be desperate to get a trip to Wembley, and thus wouldn’t be easy pushovers.

How United have fared against Fulham

The red devils had faced Fulham on 87 previous occasions, winning 53 times, drawing 20 times and losing 14 times. Therefore, history significantly favoured United, who hadn’t lost at Old Trafford in 22 home games, spanning back to September against Real Sociedad.

Despite this, with United having played an overwhelming amount of games in recent weeks, a drop off in intensity wouldn’t be shocking, and thus this combined with Fulham’s sheer desire to win the cup, could balance the sides.


Manchester United:

  • David de Gea
  • Aaron Wan Bissaka
  • Harry Maguire
  • Lisandro Martinez
  • Luke Shaw
  • Scott McTominay
  • Marcel Sabitzer
  • Bruno Fernandes
  • Marcus Rashford
  • Wout Weghorst
  • Jadon Sancho


  • Bernd Leno
  • Kenny Tete
  • Issa Diop
  • Tim Ream
  • Antonee Robinson
  • Harrison Reed
  • Joao Palhinha
  • Willian
  • Andreas Pereira
  • Bobby Reid
  • Alexsandar Mitrovic

With Casemiro’s four game suspension, Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag had a midfield dilemma. However, with the return to fitness of Austrian midfielder Sabitzer, Ten Hag opted to slot Scottish international McTominay next to him.

This could have been a potential target for Fulham manager Marco Silva’s side, who look to exploit McTominay’s vulnerabilities in an unfamiliar role.

Raphael Varane didn’t make the starting eleven, failing to even make the bench. Subsequently, United captain Maguire earnt his second consecutive start. Like with McTominay, this may have been an area Fulham looked to exploit due to the Englishman’s lack of minutes this season.

How Fulham blew the perfect opportunity to go to Wembley

Fulham started the game the stronger side.

In the second minute, Pereira floated in a deep cross which was met by French centre half Diop, who’s header was safely flicked over the bar by De Gea.

Weghorst had a chance to fire United ahead, when the Dutchman gained a yard of space, but his strike was comfortably claimed by Leno.

In the 15th minute, Reed out strengthened Martinez. This gave the Englishman space to pick out Pereira. However, Reed took to long to make his decision which gave Sabitzer enough time to get back and block his pass. This block went out for a corner, which subsequently nothing came from.

10 minutes later, Fulham pleaded for a penalty after a Martinez challenge was enough to bring Mitrovic to the ground. However, Chris Kavanagh and VAR, deemed it not to be a penalty.

Mitrovic had a good chance to head Fulham in front. Off the left flank, Robinson whipped in a dangerous delivery to the Serbian striker, whose header rose well over the bar.

A quick United counter attack almost opened Fulham up, but for a heavy Rashford touch which gave Leno time to smother his attempted pass.

Just before half time, McTominay had a good chance to open the scoring. In the Fulham box, McTominay gave it to Sancho, who immediately passed it back. However, the Scotsman strike was blocked.

As a result, the two teams went into half time all square at 0-0.

The opening minutes of the second half were all Fulham.

In the 48th minute, De Gea touched over Robinson’s fired effort.

A minute later, De Gea saved United again. Willian picked the ball up of the right flank and cut in past Rashford, attempting to whip a curling effort into the bottom right corner. However, United’s Spanish goalkeeper was able to get enough on it to prevent the Brazilian from scoring.

The Fulham pressure was finally rewarded, as Mitrovic struck his side ahead. A Pereira corner was flicked on by Diop, falling to the Serbian, who calmly dispatched his chance.

This gave Fulham a vital 1-0 lead in Manchester.

United had to respond.

In the 54th minute, Weghorst headed down a long ball to Rashford, who laid it off for Fernandes. The Portuguese fired wide of the right post.

In the 58th minute, Ten Hag made the crucial decision to take off McTominay and bring on Antony.

This changed the game.

In the 66th minute, De Gea saved United once again. Andreas Pereira whipped in a brilliant freekick to Mitrovic, who’s effort was destined for the top left corner, but for a phenomenal diving save from De Gea.

Four minutes later, Fulham’s total capitulation began. A fast counter attack saw Antony slip Sancho in through on goal. The English winger went round the onrushing Leno, before taking a touch and shooting. However, Sancho’s effort was blocked on the line by Willian’s hand. As a result, fans and players went mental. VAR intervened, and Kavanagh was sent to have a second look. However, when at the monitor, Watford’s manager intervened and was subsequently sent off.

After the VAR check, Kavanagh awarded the penalty and gave Willian Fulham’s second red card. Then, in a complete loss of his head, Mitrovic argued with the ref, physically engaging with him, and was also sent off.

To rub salt into the wounds, after a long wait, Fernandes dispatched his penalty safely into the bottom right corner.

This levelled the score at Old Trafford.

Two minutes after, a tricky Sabitzer finish, put United in front. On the left flank, Sancho slotted in Shaw, who drilled a ball across the box to the Austrian, who managed to flick the ball into the net. A short VAR check proceeded, but the goal was given.

This gave United a 2-1 lead, completing a quick turnaround.

In the 83rd minute Fred replaced Rashford.

With Fulham down to nine men, United dominated the remaining minutes,

Antony was incredibly dangerous, almost getting on the end of a long ball in the 87th minute. Just after, the Brazilian came close to jinking his way through the whole Fulham defence, but for an intervention from Leno.

Seven minutes of additional time was awarded.

In the 96th minute, Fernandes drilled United through to the FA cup semi finals. Fred was met by Shaw in acres of space in the midfield. The Brazilian charged at the Fulham defence, before slotting Fernandes in. Fernandes took a touch to compose himself, then buried his effort into the top left corner.

This cemented United’s victory.

Consequently, United won 3-1 to see them through to Wembley.

Where it all went wrong for Fulham

Up until the 70th minute, Fulham had played the perfect game. United looked completely second best. Throughout the first half, Fulham threatened and looked far more likely to open the scoring. United offered very little. This marks another poor first half performance for Ten Hag’s men. This may concern the Dutch coach who will need better complete performances if they want to win more silverware this season.

In addition, despite expectations that United would start the second half far stronger, it was Fulham again who were on the front foot. This ultimately led to the goal.

Even after the goal, although United began to threaten more, this wasn’t to a majorly damaging extent.

However, the loss of temper is what destroyed Fulham’s chances.

The handball was clear and a red card was fair, however it was Silva and Mitrovic’s reaction which lost Fulham the game.

Playing with 10 men against United attacking into the Stretford end is difficult, but not impossible.

Whereas, playing with nine men and no manager in the same circumstances, is much harder.

Thus, if Silva and Mitrovic had kept their heads, Fulham could still have salvaged something from the game.

Therefore, Fulham only have themselves to blame for crashing out of the FA cup.

What’s next for both sides

With the international break imminent, both sides won’t play for the next two weeks.

After this, Fulham head to the Vitality stadium to face Bournemouth.

United take the trip up North to face Newcastle at St James’ Park.