FA Cup Fifth Round
Blackburn Rovers vs. Manchester United
Venue: Ewood Park
Date: Sunday, 19 February 2017
Kick-off: 16:15 GMT
Manchester United booked their place in this season’s FA Cup quarter-finals with a comeback victory away at Blackburn Rovers.
The 2-1 turnaround at Ewood Park saw veteran Danny Graham give the hosts an early lead as Jose Mourinho’s looked like ending up on the wrong side of an upset.
Thankfully, Marcus Rashford’s composure levelled during the first half, before a double change of superstars saw Paul Pogba set up Zlatan Ibrahimovic for a well-taken winner with 15 minutes remaining in front of the United faithful.
Starting the brighter of the two, Blackburn tested Sergio Romero early on after Marvin Emnes’ powerful strike stung the hands of the Argentine stopper.
The former Swansea man then fed Graham with a neat through ball, with the latter producing a left foot finish back across goal to give Owen Coyle’s side a deserved lead.
Growing into the game, Ander Herrera forced Jason Steele into a smart save from close range as the visitors began to settle.
The equaliser than arrived after Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s sublime through ball found Rashford, who calmly took the ball around Steele and slotted into the empty net.
Winger Craig Conway fired over in a promising position as Jesse Lingard couldn’t direct his header goalwards at the other end as half-time arrived in Lancashire.
It was Conway with the first chance after the restart, with Romero saving to deny the attempt, with Ibrahimovic close to an immediate impact off the bench as he stretched to meet Herrera’s low cross but was just out of reach of converting.
An equally delightful cross from Liam Feeney evaded Emnes before the winner arrived with a quarter of an hour remaining.
It was Pogba’s long ball from inside his own half that met Ibrahimovic’s timed run, and as he let the ball bounce to take a glance at the goal, he nestled a superb finish into the far corner at the Darwen End as the travelling army erupted.
Rovers did find the net late on but it was correctly ruled out for offside after Anthony Stokes tapped home after Romero was made to sweat after a string of saves but full-time saw the away side over the line after four additional minutes.
Comebacks and late goals are starting to return more frequently for United this season, who certainly seem to be heading in the right direction under the Portuguese boss, who will return to his former side Chelsea in the next round.
The Europa League second leg against Saint-Etienne takes centre stage on Wednesday night at 5pm UK time, as the defence of a 3-0 lead will be the aim to secure a Round of 16 berth.
Next Sunday sees the EFL Cup Final at Wembley against Southampton at 4:30pm BST, with the first silverware of the season up for grabs in North London.
Manchester United: Romero; Young, Smalling, Rojo, Darmian; Carrick, Herrera; Lingard (Pogba 62), Mkhitaryan, Martial (Ibrahimovic 62); Rashford (Mata
Subs not used: Henderson, Bailly, Shaw, Schweinsteiger.
Manager: Jose Mourinho
Blackburn Rovers: Steele; Lowe, Greer, Lenihan, Williams; Feeney (Mahoney 73), Guthrie (Tomlinson 81), Mulgrew, Conway; Emnes; Graham (Stokes 77).
Subs not used: Hendrie, Nyambe, Brown, Raya.
Manager: Owen Coyle