Manchester United 2-0 Brighton: Jose Mourinho's men get back to winning ways
Last Updated: 18/03/18 7:16pm
Manchester United kept their chance of winning silverware this season alive as they moved into the FA Cup semi-finals with a 2-0 win over Brighton on Saturday.
Old Trafford was a deflated place following United's dismal exit from the Champions League against Sevilla on Tuesday but goals from Romelu Lukaku (37) and Nemanja Matic (84) lifted the spirits.
It was not as straightforward as the scoreline suggests with United having just two shots on target during the 90 minutes - both of which were converted via back-post headers.
United goalkeeper Sergio Romero - deputising for David de Gea - was kept busy by Brighton, who played with more adventure than the hosts but lacked a killer finish in the final third.
Jose Mourinho's side will find out their opponents for the semi-finals on Sunday evening.
Manchester United: Romero (8), Valencia (6), Bailly (7), Smalling (7), Shaw (5), Matic (8), McTominay (5), Mata (7), Lingard (5), Martial (6), Lukaku (7).
Subs: Young (6), Fellaini (6), Rashford (6)
Brighton: Krul (5), Schelotto (7), Dunk (6), Duffy (6), Suttner (6), Kayal (6), Propper (5), Gross (6), Locadia (7), Ulloa (6), March (6).
Subs: Izquierdo (6), Murray (6)
Man of the match: Nemanja Matic
The first half was a drab affair played out in a quiet atmosphere considering it was a cup quarter-final. United created a couple of half chances as Anthony Martial and Juan Mata linked up but a tame shot drifted wide of the post and Chris Smalling hit a close-range effort off a post.
Old Trafford was awoken by Lukaku just before the break.
Matic swept a first-time cross towards the far post and Lukaku powered home a header past Tim Krul in the Brighton goal.
After the break, Jurgen Locadia hit a dangerous effort that was flying towards the top corner until Romero flung out a left-hand to make a fine stop.
Jose Mourinho made five changes from their Champions League exit to Sevilla with Alexis Sanchez one of the quintet to drop out. Brighton also made five changes as Glenn Murray dropped to the bench.
Locadia was Brighton's biggest threat and should have levelled on 67 minutes but his header at the back post from a Solly March cross flew wide.
Chris Hughton would have sensed an equaliser was very possible but United wrapped up the game with their only effort on goal in the second half when Matic met Ashley Young's free-kick.
Man of the match - Nemanja Matic
Matic scored and assisted in a game for the first time since August 2014 for Chelsea against Everton as he was the unlikely creative lynchpin in an underwhelming showing from United's attacking trio of Juan Mata, Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard.
- Mourinho has reached the FA Cup semi-final stage for the first time since 2007 when managing Chelsea.
- Mourinho has won 15 of his 17 home FA Cup matches (D1 L1), winning all three with Manchester United by an aggregate score of 12-0.
- Chris Hughton, meanwhile, has managed five away matches at Old Trafford in all competitions and lost all five without seeing his sides score a single goal.
- Lukaku has scored 12 goals in his last 11 FA Cup appearances - the only match he failed to score in of those 11 games was against Man Utd for Everton in the semi-final in April 2016.
- Lukaku has been directly involved in 14 goals in his 14 appearances in 2018 (10 goals, 4 assists).
Following the international break, United take on Swansea City at Old Trafford on March 31 while Brighton host Leicester on the same day.