Manchester United vs Sheffield United 1-0 Highlights & Goals – Round 3 | FA Cup 2015/16 – Download here

Wayne Rooney scored a last-minute penalty as a poor Manchester United edged League One Sheffield United to reach the FA Cup fourth round.

The hosts, 47 places above their opponents in the football pyramid, had only two shots on target throughout.

Substitute Memphis Depay curled just wide in the second half, but it looked like the visitors would earn a replay.

However, after Memphis was fouled inside the area, Rooney stepped up to score and send the hosts through.

Just two weeks ago Louis van Gaal’s future as Manchester United manager appeared to be in huge doubt.

The Red Devils had failed to win in seven games but, after surviving a 2-0 defeat at Stoke on Boxing Day, Van Gaal has overseen an improvement in both results and, in patches, performances.

After a combined 31 shots on goal in their last two games against Chelsea and Swansea, Manchester United seemed a livelier prospect, despite their plentiful possession still having no end product.

And, at Old Trafford on Saturday, Memphis fizzed an effort just wide in the second half, only for the home fans to burst into ironic cheers, rather than roar encouragement.

A drab draw against a League One side would likely have seen Van Gaal come under criticism once again, but Rooney’s strike could give him some breathing space.

Back in 1990, Mark Robins scored a goal in the FA Cup for Manchester United that is said to have saved Sir Alex Ferguson from the sack.

Van Gaal may have just had his ‘Robins moment’.

‘I’d get rid of Van Gaal’
Sheffield United looked to have secured a lucrative replay at Bramall Lane but, as the game entered the 90th minute, Memphis broke into the area and fell as he was challenged by midfielder Dean Hammond.

His acrobatic reaction suggested the hosts may have got lucky when referee Jon Moss pointed to the spot, but replays showed there was limited contact.

“I thought it was a penalty but it was an absolute shocking performance from Manchester United,” BBC Radio 5 live pundit Robbie Savage said.

“For me, Van Gaal, I’d get rid of him.”

Two years ago Sheffield United reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup and had forged a reputation as seasoned giant killers.

In recent years, they have beaten Aston Villa, West Ham and Southampton in cup competitions and, given the sense of unrest at Old Trafford, they will have fancied their chances of claiming a higher division scalp.

They had the game’s first shot on target, which came in the 67th minute after Chris Basham fired straight at David De Gea, but retreated into their own half as they looked to keep Manchester United out and take the tie back to South Yorkshire.

That perhaps proved their undoing as the hosts pressed in the closing stages, leading to the moment when Memphis was brought down inside the box.

A little more conviction, and the result could have been different.


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