Fernandes propels Manchester United to dramatic Emirates FA Cup win over Fulham

Sunday 19 Mar 2023
Austrian midfielder Sabitzer, on loan at Manchester United from Bayern Munich, netted the goal that turned the tables at Old Trafford

Bruno Fernandes and Marcel Sabitzer’s quickfire second-half goals propelled Manchester United to a dramatic comeback victory against nine-man Fulham in a fiery Emirates FA Cup quarter-final at Old Trafford.

The visitors were leading through Aleksandar Mitrovic’s first-ever goal in the competition before the game turned chaotically on its head with 20 minutes remaining.

Fulham winger Willian was sent off for handling the ball on the line as manager Marco Silva was also given his marching orders during referee Chris Kavanagh’s VAR check.

Emirates FA Cup
  • Manchester United v Fulham
  • Quarter-finals
  • Sunday 19 March
And after Mitrovic then took aim at Kavanagh to spark a subsequent melee, the Serbian striker was also dismissed as three red cards in the space of 40 frantic seconds paved the way for an almost instantaneous United fightback.

Fernandes netted from the spot before just moments later, Austrian midfielder Sabitzer diverted home from Luke Shaw’s cross to cap a crazy few minutes under the Old Trafford lights.

And with Fulham’s significant numerical disadvantage continuing to show, Fernandes’ emphatic second in injury-time wrapped the action-packed tie up and fired the recently-crowned Carabao Cup champions to Wembley once again.

Erik ten Hag deployed a firmly full-strength side as red-hot Marcus Rashford, Fernandes and Lisandro Martinez all started for the hosts.

But while Mitrovic, Willian and former Red Devil Andreas Pereira lined up for Marco Silva’s high-flying Fulham, in-form Israeli Manor Solomon – who netted a stunning strike against Leeds United in the last 16 – was surprisingly left on the bench.

The visitors looked the livelier of the two sides throughout the opening exchanges as Issa Diop and Willian both went close. 

But United, who were crowned Carabao Cup champions earlier this month and are still fighting for a quadruple haul of trophies this season, continued to pose a threat on the break through top-scorer Rashford and Fernandes.

Bernd Leno saved from Sabitzer’s shot but United were far from their fluent best throughout the first period.

Fulham once again started the second half brightly as David de Gea smartly tipped over Antonee Robinson’s shot after a clever backheel by Willian.

And the visitors soon had their reward for their positive showing when Mitrovic broke the deadlock on 50 minutes.

Diop expertly flicked the ball on to the back post from Pereira’s out-swinging corner where Mitrovic was waiting to decisively rifle home.

The Fulham hitman then almost had a second when De Gea produced a stunning save to divert his well-steered header wide of an Old Trafford post.

But just minutes later, Mitrovic saw red for his furious reaction to Kavanagh’s decision to send off Willian and award United a penalty.

The former Chelsea wide man had handled Jadon Sancho’s shot on the line and after him, Silva and then Mitrovic were all dramatically dismissed, ice-cool Fernandes stepped up to send Leno the wrong way and tee up a tantalising finale.

That got the Old Trafford crowd rocking and almost immediately off the back of the restart, Bayern Munich loanee Sabitzer cleverly hooked home from Shaw’s low cross to prompt wild scenes in the stands.

With just nine men on the pitch – and no manager – Fulham struggled to assert any real influence on the game and Fernandes’ injury-time thunderbolt confirmed a semi-final date with Brighton & Hove Albion for the 12-time Emirates FA Cup champions.

By Will Jennings