Manchester United continues their FA Cup success with Casemiro’s last-minute header securing a win against Forest.

Estimated read time 5 min read

According to legend, Mark Robins became the savior of Alex Ferguson’s managerial career at Manchester United in 1990 when he scored the winning goal against Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup. That season, United went on to win the trophy at Wembley and the pressure on their manager was relieved. Erik ten Hag may be hoping that Casemiro’s late goal will have a similar inspiring impact on his own tenure.

Reword: The Brazilian’s header marked the 36th shot attempt in a match lacking quality, but the outcome was the most important for Ten Hag. He hopes Manchester United will make it to Wembley in this competition, in order to impress new minority shareholder Sir Jim Ratcliffe. However, they will face a tough task against Liverpool in the next round as they strive to improve upon their previous defeat in the finals.

Ten Hag will be evaluated based on the number of trophies won and the players he signs, but one of his recent signings, Antony, had a forgettable performance lasting 73 minutes. The FA Cup is Manchester United’s only chance at winning a trophy, as they have struggled to find consistency in the Premier League and performed poorly in their Champions League group. To maintain his job at Old Trafford, success is a necessity, and the arrival of Ratcliffe has added even more pressure. Casemiro’s goal was a disappointing end to the game, but it was a fitting result given the lackluster performance from both teams, with United taking advantage of Forest’s weakness in defending against set pieces.

Ten Hag praised Casemiro for his impressive goal-scoring record and highlighted his valuable presence as an essential member of the team. The absence of Casemiro in previous months was strongly felt and his impact on the team’s performance and structure is evident. His leadership qualities greatly contribute to our success.

Due to 89 minutes of missed shots, it seemed certain that there would be extra time. A quick ending was not expected. United lacked their top-performing striker Rasmus Højlund, who has been consistently scoring goals over the past few months, with a total of seven in six league games. He was unable to play during their loss to Fulham on Saturday, during which United only managed to score one goal despite taking 21 shots. Against Fulham, they only needed one less shot to secure a victory, which could be seen as a small improvement.

The match was a tough one, with Ten Hag commending United’s ability to bounce back. Injuries proved to be a challenge, with Sofyan Amrabat playing out of position as a left-back and Bruno Fernandes pushing through the discomfort. However, Fulham took advantage of the situation and made fun of Fernandes on their social media platforms after he was seen in agony during their game on Saturday.

Erik ten Hag gestures in frustrationView image in fullscreen

Ten Hag commented that Forest made Fernandes their target during the match, causing him to leave the City Ground with a limp. The injury was severe, and criticizing him on social media is disgraceful. Fernandes showed great determination to play in this game and possesses a high tolerance for pain. This is evident from his previous battles against Spurs and Brighton, demonstrating excellent leadership skills.

In the first 17 minutes, United had multiple opportunities to score three goals. Antony, Scott McTominay, and Marcus Rashford all had good chances from inside the penalty area, but only McTominay was able to challenge the goalkeeper, while the other attempts hit the crossbar or went into the stands. It is evident that United requires a substitute striker to lessen the workload on Højlund when he comes back.

On Sunday, United will visit Manchester City, where they are unlikely to have as many opportunities as their rivals, who will not be as wasteful as Forest. In the first half, the hosts did not have much presence in the game but were able to keep up with United due to their inefficient scoring.

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Following the intermission, Forest discovered a potential danger. Taiwo Awoniyi and Divock Origi both attempted shots that were saved by goalkeeper André Onana who remained vigilant. “Losing in the end was disappointing, but football can be merciless,” stated Nuno Espírito Santo.

Unfortunately, the overall quality of the game was subpar. Making a bold move seemed unlikely until Fernandes sent in a well-placed free-kick from the left side, which bounced towards the front post where Casemiro was unmarked and able to head the ball past Matt Turner’s legs.

After a long VAR review, it was determined whether Raphaël Varane was in an offside position and if his actions affected the play. Despite this, the goal was ultimately deemed valid. There was a sense of relief among the visiting team’s fans and coaching staff.

United has developed a talent for scoring last-minute goals. If it were not for them, Ten Hag would be in a worrisome situation. Casemiro’s contribution has given him hope of securing a second trophy as United’s manager, but there is pressure to return to Wembley.


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