Over three months had passed since our fifth-round FA Cup tie against Derby County at Pride Park, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side faced the Canaries for a place in the semi-finals and, of course, another trip to Wembley Stadium. Man Utd were expected to breeze past Norwich. The Red Devils hadn’t lost a match in all competitions since January 22 when they were beaten by Burnley. United had been excellent in their 3-1 victory at Carrow Road in October and then dismissed Norwich 4-0 in the reverse fixture in January. Norwich’s Daniel Farke’s side are marooned at the bottom of the Premier League and are six points adrift of Aston Villa. So even with United making eight changes to the side that had beaten Sheffield United in midweek, United fans did not expect United to struggle.
However the Red Devils were frustrated for large spells against the 10-men of Norwich at Carrow Road, but avoided penalties to progress to the next round and we all breathed a huge sigh of relief when Captain Maguire broke Norwich hearts with a winner late in extra-time to book Manchester United’s place in the semi final of the FA Cup.
My man of the match has to be Odion Ighalo. Apart from his first half goal with an excellent improvised, flicked shot, he was also instrumental in Norwich having to play with ten men for all of extra time. It was practically his assist that led to the winning goal. The forward had scored in every single match he started ahead of the three-month hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic and is continuing to show he was a much needed bargain.
United now travel to Brighton on Tuesday and Solskjaer is grateful to have nearly a full squad amid the hectic schedule, Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe being the only players unavailable through injury.
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