Skip to main content

There’s still some fight left in Manchester United.

With the season hanging in the balance, Erik Ten Hag’s team produced one of the most important wins of his tenure to beat Liverpool 4-3 after extra time in a thrilling FA Cup quarter-final match on Sunday.

With nearly the last kick of the match, substitute Amad Diallo sent Old Trafford into raptures, ending Liverpool’s bid for a quadruple of trophies and firing United into the semi-finals.

“Listen to the noise, you can tell what a big game it is, a huge occasion,” said Marcus Rashford, who missed a golden chance to win it at the end of regulation, but levelled the game at 3-3 in extra time. “I had to score that chance at the end … but we got the job done and we have to get something out of this season.”

Time will tell just how significant a result this will be for Ten Hag, who has faced mounting speculation about his position in the face of a troubled campaign and restructuring at the club.

The FA Cup represents his last chance for silverware this season, while Champions League qualification is in doubt with United sixth in the Premier League.

Defeat against the club’s fiercest rival Liverpool would likely have seen the pressure on the Dutchman grow. And it was notable that television cameras focused on new director Dave Brailsford as the clock ticked down with Liverpool leading 2-1 as the game approached 90 minutes.

Brailsford is part of the team overseeing United’s soccer operations after British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe’s recent investment in the club. He looked stone-faced with United seemingly headed out of the competition and Liverpool’s away fans making the loudest noise.

Emotions changed drastically inside Old Trafford, however, when Antony levelled the game in the 87th. That set up a white-knuckle ride through to the first minute of stoppage time in extra time, with big chances missed and momentum swinging one way and then another until Diallo’s winner.

Twelve-time FA Cup winner United was later drawn against second-tier Coventry in the semi-finals and defending champion Manchester City will play Chelsea, which beat Leicester 4-2 earlier Sunday. Both matches will take place at Wembley.

The game had looked like going to a penalty shootout until Diallo fired low into the bottom corner to beat Caoimhin Kelleher after a late Liverpool corner.

United’s pursuit of a top-four finish was also helped after fourth-place Aston Villa drew 1-1 at West Ham in the Premier League earlier in the day. Tottenham, in fifth, lost 3-0 at Fulham on Saturday.

Ten Hag’s team is still nine points adrift of Villa, but has a game in hand, and perhaps momentum after such a morale-boosting win.

Scott McTominay put United ahead in the 10th minute before goals from Alexis Mac Allister in the 44th and Mohamed Salah in the second minute of first-half stoppage time gave Liverpool the lead at the break.

After Antony levelled, Harvey Elliott hit the post for Liverpool and Rashford fired wide with only the keeper to beat with the final kick in regulation.

In extra time Elliott restored Liverpool’s lead in the 105th and Rashford levelled again seven minutes later.

Amad’s winner killed off Jürgen Klopp’s hopes of winning four trophies before he steps down at the end of the season.

Liverpool has already won the League Cup, is second in the league and through to the quarter-finals of the Europa League.

Chelsea’s revenge

Two goals in second-half stoppage time saw Chelsea book its place at Wembley and avenge its defeat to Leicester in the 2021 FA Cup final. But Mauricio Pochettino’s team was given a scare against Leicester at Stamford Bridge. Marc Cucurella and Cole Palmer put Chelsea 2-0 up in the first half, with Raheem Sterling also having a penalty saved by Jakub Stolarczyk. Leicester fought back after the break through a spectacular own-goal by Axel Disasi, who sent a long-range back pass without checking where his goalkeeper was, and an equalizer from Stephy Mavididi. With the game looking set to go to extra time, Chelsea struck twice through two substitutes. Carney Chukwuemeka restored the Premier League team’s advantage after an assist from Palmer in the second minute of time added on. Noni Madueke scored a brilliant solo effort six minutes later to ensure the win and a semi-final spot.

Top four

Nicolo Zaniolo’s goal in Sunday’s only Premier League game could be crucial in the battle to qualify for the Champions League. Having been routed 4-0 by fifth-place Tottenham last week, Aston Villa, in fourth, trailed to Michail Antonio’s header at West Ham. But Zaniolo’s second-half strike secured a 1-1 draw that moved Villa three points clear of Spurs, having played a game more. Even then, Unai Emery’s team had to rely on VAR to rule out a stoppage-time goal from Tomas Soucek for handball. Sixth-place United is nine points behind Villa with a game in hand. Depending on how English teams perform in Europe this season, the Premier League could be handed an extra Champions League spot, meaning fifth place would gain entry to next season’s competition.

Women’s super league

Manchester City kept its title hopes alive with a 4-1 win over Brighton & Hove Albion in English Women’s Super League action on Sunday. Man City pulled even with Chelsea with 40 points. In other games, it was Liverpool 3, West Ham United 1; Manchester United 2, Bristol City 0; and Tottenham Hotspur 1, Leicester City 0.

Follow related authors and topics

Authors and topics you follow will be added to your personal news feed in Following.

Interact with The Globe