Last-gasp Casemiro sets up United for Liverpool clash

February 29, 2024 10:13 am

[Source: Reuters]

Brazilian Casemiro struck late to send Manchester United into the FA Cup quarter-finals with a 1-0 victory over Nottingham Forest as teenagers Jayden Danns and Lewis Koumas inspired Liverpool to a 3-0 win over Southampton on Wednesday.

Chelsea overcame second-tier Leeds United 3-2 thanks to Conor Gallagher’s 90th-minute winner, easing the pressure on coach Mauricio Pochettino, and Wolverhampton Wanderers beat Brighton & Hove Albion 1-0 thanks to Mario Lemina’s early goal.

United kept alive their last hope of lifting a trophy in a difficult season for the 12-times FA Cup winners when the 32-year-old Casemiro headed in a low bouncing free kick from Bruno Fernandes from close range, setting up an enticing quarter-final meeting with Liverpool.

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United manager Erik Ten Hag and his team held their breath through a lengthy VAR check for offside before the goal was confirmed to the delight of the United fans at the City Ground.

“We scored in the right moment,” Ten Hag told the BBC. “Every win is important. This team, what they showed today, that’s great. They have to show it every game.”

The goal was reminiscent of Mark Robins’ famous stooping header against Forest in 1989 which secured victory for United in a crucial FA Cup tie that helped save manager Alex Ferguson’s job.

Ten Hag’s side are sixth in the Premier League and last weekend’s loss to Fulham left their hopes of a top-four finish and Champions League berth hanging by a thread.

“It was an important game for us to win,” keeper Andre Onana told the BBC. “I’m happy. We worked hard and this was our reward. At Manchester United you must win. It was a difficult game against a good opponent.”

Three days after Liverpool’s young side beat Chelsea 1-0 to win the League Cup final, Danns struck twice with his first goals for the senior side and Koumas scored on his first-team debut.

“I couldn’t be happier today. Today is the best day of my life,” Danns said. “I’ve watched Liverpool since I was a young boy and to score at the Kop End is more than a dream. I couldn’t be happier.”