Manchester United kept their dream of silverware alive as they ended Norwich City’s season on a cruel night at Carrow Road.
Harry Maguire, the United captain, stepped up when his beleaguered side needed him most as they were held 1-1 against the Premier League’s bottom club Norwich City — who are doomed to relegation — after 106 minutes of football.
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looked pensive on the socially-distant bench as penalties loomed, but he burst into a beam of relief as his troops dug out a spot in the FA Cup semi finals.
Maguire found a winner deep into extra-time against 10-man Norwich. The home side scrapped and scraped, but the Premier League’s bottom team could not hold out and went down 2-1 in extra time, effectively ending their season, as they prepare for life in the Championship.
The game looked to be heading for a penalty shoot-out after Norwich, who had Timm Klose sent off in the 89th minute, defended superbly against constant pressure from Solskjaer’s side before Maguire’s goal two minutes from the end.
United went ahead in the 51st minute when Juan Mata flicked on a cross from Luke Shaw and Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo did well to hook the ball home.
But Norwich stuck at their task and drew level through a sweetly struck long-range drive from Todd Cantwell, the winger drilling into the bottom corner from 25 yards out with 15 minutes remaining.
Solskjaer threw on Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic as United looked to avoid extra time and the momentum shifted back to his side when Norwich defender Klose was sent off for pulling down Ighalo.
It was one-way traffic in extra time but Norwich’s massed defence kept United at bay with keeper Tim Krul doing well to keep out a goalbound header from Maguire. But with Norwich agonisingly close to the shoot-out, Maguire was able to strike a loose ball after a scramble in the box to send United to their 30th FA Cup semi-final.
Meanwhile, Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce says he is preparing his side to withstand a backlash from Manchester City when they host Pep Guardiola’s men in the FA Cup quarter-final today.
Man City’s 2-1 defeat by Chelsea on Thursday brought an end to their title defence, with Liverpool claiming their first top-flight crown in 30 years after taking an insurmountable 23-point lead at the top of the standings with seven games to play.
Bruce, whose side held City to a 2-2 draw in a Premier League clash earlier this season, said he is expecting a strong response.
“The one thing they have been over the years now is serial winners, whether it’s the FA Cup or the League Cup, they’re a very, very good side,” Bruce said. “They’ll treat the cups, I’m sure now, as something to look forward to. They’ve got the Champions League and of course they’ve got the FA Cup, which they’ll, I’m sure, put their attention to.” Newcastle have picked up 10 points from their last four games and Bruce attributes his side’s resurgence to a tactical tweak.”
Manchester United cannot take their foot off the gas as, in the only Premier League game, Wolves boosted their Champions League qualification hopes with a 1-0 at Aston Villa. Leander Dendoncker grabbed a 62nd-minute winner. The victory lifts Wolves above Manchester United into fifth place, two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, although they have played a game more than both teams.