LONDON (Reuters) – Juan Mata sent Manchester United into the fourth round of the FA Cup in the 67th minute with a tight finish to secure a draw in Wednesday's 1-0 win against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Old Trafford.
Manchester United's Juan Mata celebrates REUTERS / Andrew Yates' first goal
Mata was played cleanly by Anthony Martial, and goalkeeper John Ruddy was the only goal against Wolves who beat United in last season's FA Cup and was warned by VAR in the 10th minute.
The first game in Molineux between the teams, both in the last 32 of the Europa League and with a lot of tired legs, ended goalless when United failed to get a single shot on goal.
However, the game against United was dampened by an injury to top scorer Marcus Rashford, who came on for Daniel James in the second half and played just 16 minutes before limping off the pitch injured.
"It fired backwards, but you have to choose it every now and then," manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told BT Sport.
The injury left the English striker in doubt on Sunday when he faced Liverpool at Anfield.
"It looks like he knocked there and couldn't run. We'll test him over the next few days. Hopefully he'll be fine on Sunday, I don't know," said Solskjaer.
In the other replay of the evening, Cardiff City defeated fourth-rate fighters Carlisle United 4-3 in a more lively game to clash with Reading in the fourth round.
United will next take on either last year's Premier League runner-up Watford or third-division side Tranmere Rovers, whose repetition was postponed on Tuesday due to a crowded spot in Prenton Park.
Solskjær's team was released from the hook after 10 minutes when a VAR check showed that the ball had bounced off Raul Jimenez’s hand before Portuguese teen hit Pedro Neto for the wolves.
The guests also came closer from a corner when Matt Doherty shot his header onto the post.
Even though the game remained goalless during the break, United had three shots on goal.
"I think you can see that there are two teams that were tired towards the end. End-to-end, an open game that we sometimes don't like. We wanted to control the game better," said Solskjaer.
“Juan Mata is a different class. He has the skill, the serenity and even the pace to get through there. "
Wolf manager Nuno Espirito Santo said his team didn't defend the goal well, but it was a good game and he was frustrated with the result.
"This is VAR, there is nothing you can do. We do not celebrate goals. It makes no sense," he added.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, Ed Osmond editor