FA Cup: Manchester United 3-0 Cambridge United
ManUtd: Juan Mata (25), Marcos Rojo (32), James Wilson (73)
Manchester United are through to the fifth round of the FA Cup following a comfortable 3-0 success against Cambridge United at Old Trafford.
Louis van Gaal's men set up an away date with Preston North End and remain on course for Wembley thanks to goals from Juan Mata, Marcos Rojo and substitute James Wilson.
The Reds survived a major scare in the very first minute as Daley Blind, flawless at the weekend, misplaced a pass straight to Tom Elliott and the angular striker bore down on David De Gea's goal. Slipping as he fired off a shot, the visiting centre-forward saw his effort curl wide of the keeper and rebound back off a post.
Louis van Gaal's side were slow into their stride with Marouane Fellaini deployed up front alongside Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney stationed on the right side of a diamond. Rooney was heavily involved from out wide as his header deflected off Greg Taylor to go through to Chris Dunn before the Cambridge goalkeeper was properly worked for the first time on 18 minutes by the skipper's low drive.
Seven minutes later, a neat move unhinged the Cambridge defence with Paddy McNair, excellent at right-back, and Mata ferrying the ball wide to Angel Di Maria with crisp passes. The Reds' record buy hung the ball up to the far post where Fellaini, on cue, nodded into the six-yard box for Mata to steer in off the underside of the bar.
A change of pace by Di Maria carved out a volleyed chance for McNair, only for Cameron McGeehan to block, but a second goal arrived when a pinpoint corner by Di Maria found Fellaini in space. The Belgian controlled before shooting, with van Persie picking up the loose ball and intelligently scooping it to Rojo with his left foot. The South American, enjoying getting forward throughout his 81 minutes from left-back, headed home his first goal for the club.
Di Maria continued to be a thorn in the visitors' side as he lashed a venomous strike over the bar from a Mata lay-off and teed up a first-time volley on the full by Rooney during a breakaway raid, with the shot bouncing off the turf and going well wide.
Cambridge did create a half-chance through Ryan Donaldson but the Reds were otherwise in total control heading into the break. Van Persie led the charge in the second half but was out of luck with a number of efforts. Two shots were saved by Dunn, a pair of headers were misdirected and he was unable to convert the rebound after Rooney's stinging drive was pushed out by the keeper.
Wilson replaced the Dutchman on 66 minutes and Di Maria was also withdrawn after a rasping drive brought a flying save out of Dunn. Ander Herrera came on for the Argentinian and he collected a loose ball to feed the ball through to Wilson. The youngster took aim and flashed a left-footed drive past Dunn to put the result beyond any doubt.
Rooney almost added a fourth goal when bending a shot just wide before Ashley Young made his comeback after a hamstring injury in place of Rojo. Dunn clutched another decent attempt by Rooney and McGeehan spurned an injury-time opening but there was no further addition to the scoreline as the hosts ensured safe progress in a competition the club is determined to win.
United: De Gea; McNair, Smalling, Evans, Rojo (Young 81); Blind, Fellaini, Mata, Di Maria (Herrera 70); Rooney, van Persie (Wilson 66).
Subs not used: Valdes, Jones, Valencia, Falcao.
Cambridge: Dunn; Tait, Coulson, Nelson (Miller 86), Taylor; Champion, Simpson (Kaikai 61), Donaldson, McGeehan, Chadwick (Morrissey 51); Elliott.
Subs not used: Taylor, Norris, Ball, Gaffney.