[FA Cup] Manchester United 1-2 Swansea City
ManUtd: Javier Hernandez (16)
Swansea: Wayne Routledge (12), Wilfred Bony (90)
United were knocked out of the FA Cup by Swansea City when Wilfried Bony headed home in the last minute of normal time after the Reds had been reduced to 10 men.
Wayne Routledge put the Welsh side ahead in the first half, but the Reds swiftly equalised when Javier Hernandez volleyed home from close range. But after substitute Fabio had been sent off in the second half, the visitors struck late on to snatch victory.
Such was United’s domination of the opening exchanges that Swansea’s goal on 12 minutes came as a major shock, Routledge racing onto a pass from Alejandro Pozuelo to lift the ball calmly over the advancing Anders Lindegaard. But the Reds dusted themselves down and gave the perfect response within four minutes, Chicharito getting in between two defenders to divert the impressive Alex Buttner’s cross past Gerhard Tremmel.
The chances continued to come the way of David Moyes’ men and in particular Hernandez, who volleyed wide with more time to hit the target than he realised just before the break.
With the prospect of a replay suiting neither side with their differing demands elsewhere, the second half saw plenty of endeavour without either keeper being forced into serious action. Tom Cleverley blasted a free kick from within the “D” straight into the Swansea wall, while United’s defence coped well with the persistent Bony, with Buttner thwarting the Ivorian as time began to run out.
The Reds were reduced to 10 men with 10 minutes to go when Fabio, who had only just replaced the injured Rio Ferdinand, was shown a straight red card after catching Canas.
United continued to press for the win, but Routledge turned provider in the 89th minute, crossing from the left for Bony to nod the ball beyond Lindegaard.
The match United had the better of large swathes of this cup clash and, having cancelled out Wayne Routledge's opener through Javier Hernandez, the Reds seemed primed to go on and win it. But failing to truly test the visiting defence any further, especially after half-time, came back to haunt David Moyes' men as Wilfried Bony popped up with a late winner. Fabio's sending off just a few minutes after he replaced Rio Ferdinand only compounded an afternoon to forget.
The goal Chicharito's predatory strike was the perfect riposte to the visitors' opener against the run of play. Alex Büttner had already whipped in a testing corner and cross from the right, and the Dutchman's pin-point delivery from his usual station on the left gave his Mexican team-mate a chance he seized upon with relish.
Star men Büttner took his chance from a rare start to show off his talents, delivering several dangerous crosses as well as the ball that set up Chicha's goal. He also timed a tackle on Bony well with the game poised at 1-1, and proved he is a worthy understudy to Patrice Evra.
Sub-plots If Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie's respective knocks need more rest, then Chicha and Danny Welbeck have shown that they provide a goal threat, but taking chances was United's downfall here and as a team the Reds must respond in Tuesday's League Cup semi-final first leg at Sunderland.
Opposition Swansea's passing and movement is excellent, as you might expect of a club boasting its fair share of Spanish players and with Michael Laudrup in charge. They also boast a fearlessness, which probably contributed to them going in front here. Despite a precarious league position, they're undefeated having started in a winning position this term, so their dangerous early lead proved to be tellingly prophetic.
Move of the match Only moments before Swansea's first goal, United opened up the visitors' defence with a razor-sharp move that only lacked a finish. Welbeck motored forwards, played a neat one-two with Kagawa and then knocked a first-time ball across the box to Hernandez, who swung but failed to connect properly.
In the stands There was genuine respect from the entire stadium to mark the sad passing of the great Eusebio with a minute's applause just before kick-off. The noise from the home fans following Swansea's surprise opener seemed to help the Reds shake off the shock of conceding, and set a good benchmark for the rest of the game. And a rendition of "You are my Solskjaer" was a deserved tip of the hat to the United favourite and teased the visiting fans about the man now holding the reins at their local rivals. Even after the final whistle, fans in the Stretford End made clear their support for the team.