Shrewsbury 0-3 Manchester United: Red Devils seal quarter-final place
By Patrick Surlis
Last Updated: 23/02/16 9:33am
Manchester United eased the pressure on manager Louis van Gaal with a 3-0 win over Shrewsbury at Greenhous Meadow on Monday night, sealing an FA Cup quarter-final tie against West Ham.
Chris Smalling, captaining the side, edged United in front via a deflection on 37 minutes, and Juan Mata added the second just before half-time with a dipping free-kick.
In the first competitive meeting between the two teams, Jesse Lingard sealed United's progress with a guided finish from six yards after a counter-attack started by goalkeeper Sergio Romero.
Abu Ogogo missed the chance to add a consolation goal late on, but it was a comfortable night for United, who are looking to win the FA Cup for the first time since 2004, as League One Shrewsbury failed to register a shot on target.
Sixty places separated the sides in the football pyramid at kick-off, and with 13 players missing, Van Gaal made three changes from their Europa League defeat against FC Midtjylland as the Premier League side dominated from the start.
They enjoyed 79 per cent possession in a one-sided first half, and could have taken the lead inside two minutes when Smalling headed over from a Daley Blind corner.
Memphis Depay was the next to go close, but Shrews goalkeeper Jayson Leutwiler tipped his low shot wide after good work from Cameron Borthwick-Jackson.
With Ed Woodward in attendance and the pressure on Van Gaal after a run of five wins from 18 matches, United kept their foot down and only brave defending from Junior Brown prevented Anthony Martial from opening the scoring on the half-hour.
Seven minutes later they did go in front as Smalling, who had stayed forward after a United corner, latched onto a Morgan Schneiderlin header to fire in his first FA Cup goal. His volley appeared to take a slight deflection off Nathaniel Knight-Percival before finding the far corner, prompting a smile from Van Gaal on the United bench.
Mata added the second just before the break, leaving Leutwiler rooted to the spot with a free-kick that darted up and over the wall, but there was controversy as three United players were in an offside position when the set-piece was taken.
Martial missed the chance to get on the scoresheet when he headed wide from a quickly-taken corner ten minutes after the restart, but United didn't have to wait long for their third.
Lingard turned home Ander Herrera's chipped cross at the back post to make the game safe, and the winger nearly doubled his tally shortly after but poked wide.
Substitute Will Keane rattled the woodwork with a firm strike with 15 minutes to play, but the striker picked up an injury in the process and with three substitutes already made, United were forced to see out the game with 10 men.
The numerical advantage helped the Shrews in their search for a consolation, and Ogogo should have given a sell-out Greenhous Meadow crowd something to cheer, but the midfielder powered his free header wide.
The victory, United's first since February 2, seals a home meeting with the Hammers in the next round. Meanwhile, relegation-threatened Shrewsbury return to league action at Colchester on Saturday.