Sports Desk, Jan 10 (EFE).- Manchester United edged Aston Villa 1-0 Monday to book their place in the fourth round of the FA Cup, where they will face second-division side Middlesbrough.
Scott McTominay’s early goal proved to be enough for the Red Devils thanks to some heroics by goalkeeper David De Gea and a controversial VAR decision to disallow an equalizer for the visitors.
While Cristiano Ronaldo was left off the roster due to “minor muscular problems,” interim coach Ralf Rangnick had most of his regular starters available for the cup tie at Old Trafford.
Villa boss Steven Gerrard was able to call on Ollie Watkins, recovered from injury, and Tyrone Mings, who returned after a one-game suspension.
The Birmingham club’s new acquisition, Gerrard’s former Liverpool teammate Philippe Coutinho, will see his first action with Villa in Saturday’s upcoming Premier League contest against United.
United started brightly and went ahead in the 8th minute as McTominay headed in an excellent cross from Fred.
Villa came to life after conceding and John McGinn tested De Gea with a low blast before Watkins hit the cross-bar. At the other end, Emi Buendia denied Bruno Fernandes and David Shaw to keep to one goal at the break.
The visitors appeared to equalize in the 51st minute courtesy of Danny Ings, who scored into an empty net after McGinn’s free kick.
But VAR decided to take a look and after three minutes, the goal was disallowed for an ostensible foul by an attacking player during the build-up.
Watkins saw a goal called back in the 59th minute because Ings was offside. De Gea thwarted Matty Cash eight minutes later and United held on for the victory. EFE