U's FA Cup run comes to an end at Old Trafford
Cambridge United’s FA Cup run came to an end on a memorable night at Old Trafford as Manchester United secured a 3-0 win in Tuesday's Fourth Round replay.
Richard Money’s side, who famously held the 20-times English champions to a goalless draw at the R Costings Abbey Stadium, were finally beaten by goals from Juan Mata, Marcos Rojo and James Wilson.
Playing in front of the biggest crowd ever for a Cambridge match - and the BT Sport cameras - the visitors acquitted themselves well against a team sitting third in the Premier League.
Roared on by almost 7,000 travelling fans, the U’s made it an uncomfortable night for Louis van Gaal’s men.
A delayed kick-off added to the tension on a cold Lancashire night, though it did not take long for the Amber Nation to warm up in the East Stand.
The sight of Tom Elliott racing through on goal in just the second minute had hearts racing, be he curled his effort onto the outside of the post.
And Cameron McGeehan's crunching tackle on Wayne Rooney when the England striker was poised to shoot provided another early highlight in a superb start from the visitors.
Rooney found Chris Dunn's gloves soon after with a low shot from the edge of the box.
But the hosts got the breakthrough midway through the first half when Mata turned home from close range, via the underside of the crossbar.
Rojo added the second from Robin van Persie's low cross to put Van Gaal's side in charge at the break.
Dunn was alert to thwart Van Persie early in the second half and Dutchman fired over from close range a minute later.
Robbie Simpson's header capped a swift U's break at the other end, but it was easy for David de Gea.
Debutant Gearoid Morrissey, on for former Manchester United midfielder Luke Chadwick, dragged a shot just wide as Cambridge continued to press for a goal.
As the visiting fans bounced, Dunn jumped to superbly deny Angel di Maria, with the home side once more underlining their threat.
The game as a contest was ended by Wilson's low long-range strike with 16 minutes remaining, but Cambridge - who saw McGeehan Fire narrowly wide in stoppage time - had done themselves proud on one of football's biggest stages.
Cambridge’s attentions now return to League Two matters and the visit of high-flying Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday, while Van Gaal will seek to end Manchester United’s 11-year wait for an FA Cup crown.