How Fulham threw away Man Utd lead with three red cards in FA Cup quarter finals
Manchester United’s hunt for multiple trophies this season continued on Sunday as they eventually surged past Fulham with the help of a meltdown from the visitors.
Aleksandar Mitrovic’s finish had the Cottagers ahead at the start of the second half but Willian’s handball sparked a major loss of minerals from the visitors as they were reduced to nine players and saw their manager dismissed.
Here’s how the few minutes of chaos unfolded in the FA Cup quarter finals.
This is where it all started.
Substitute Antony was sent scampering down the right and squared for Jadon Sancho. The England international sold one Fulham defender with a dummy but saw his goal-bound shot deflected away from goal by Willian’s hand.
The Brazilian initially claimed he blocked the shot with his stomach but referee Chris Kavanagh consulted the pitchside monitor, reviewed the evidence and dismissed Willian, awarding a penalty in the process.
As Kavanagh approached the monitor, a member of Fulham’s coaching staff was dismissed for attempting to interfere in the decision.
Former Everton and Hull boss manager Marco Silva later said he was frustrated Fulham didn’t get more decisions from the referee. His fiery interaction with Kavanagh saw him sent off for some form of dissent.
Once the penalty was awarded, Mitrovic instantly headed for Kavanagh to share his views on the call. The Serbia striker pushed Kavanagh and tried to square up to the referee, resulting in a red card to leave Fulham with only nine players. Assistant manager Luis Boa Morte had to come onto the pitch in an attempt to calm Mitrovic down.
The Cottagers might have managed to stay in the contest with only one player dismissed, but Mitrovic’s exit left them with a serious outfield deficit and only moments after Bruno Fernandes equalised from the spot, Marcel Sabitzer popped up to flick in United’s second.
United’s victory sets up a semi final clash with Brighton. The two sides – who were meant to meet this weekend in league action – last played each other on the opening weekend of the Premier League.
The Seagulls inflicted defeat on United in Erik ten Hag’s first match as a Premier League manager. Things got worse a week later when they were embarrassed 4-0 by Brentford, but since then United have become a much more rounded side.
Ten Hag’s side won the Carabao Cup, have reached the Europa League quarter finals, are in the final four of the FA Cup and well set to qualify for the Champions League.
Fulham, on the other hand, will now be without Willian and Mitrovic, two of their most important players, due to their suspensions for straight red cards.
It’s also a blow to their European aspirations, which have suffered due to a run of three games without victory in the Premier League.