Marouane Fellaini’s goal proved to be the difference as Manchester United sealed an FA Cup semi-final date with Everton after a 2-1 win over West Ham in their quarter-final replay at Upton Park.
In the last-ever cup tie at this famous ground before West Ham move to the Olympic Stadium, United broke Hammers hearts, with goals from Marcus Rashford and Fellaini helping them earn the victory.
James Tomkins’ late goal did make things interesting, but the hosts couldn’t find a way past David de Gea, who once again came to United’s rescue late on with a stunning double save.
The Toffees await on April 23, and if United show the kind of endeavour they did in the East End, they could well be booking another trip to Wembley for the final.
After a bright start from the Hammers, United grew into the game, and created a few half chances.
Rashford was picking up some good positions, and but for some timely interceptions from West Ham defenders, would have been in on goal.
Jesse Lingard had the chance of the first half, after great work from Fellaini to create the chance, but the local lad was denied by the feet of Darren Randolph in the Hammers’ goal.
The hosts struggled to find their rhythm in the opening period, with Dimitri Payet especially quiet.
After the interval, United continued to cause problems and nine minutes into the second half the visitors made the breakthrough after Michail Antonio gave the ball away inside his own half and Anthony Martial slipped in Rashford just inside the penalty area.
The youngster still had plenty to do, but he stepped inside Tomkins before curling a superb shot beyond Randolph and into the top corner to send the travelling fans into raptures.
West Ham felt they should have been awarded a penalty moments later when Daley Blind blocked Payet’s run in the area but referee Roger East was unconvinced.
Instead they fell two behind when Lingard got to the byline after Fellaini had headed the ball down in the box, Lingard whipped the ball into the box, Martial fired goalwards and Fellaini diverted the ball home with his thigh.
West Ham should have been down and out but they at least made a game of it when Andy Carroll nodded Payet’s corner into the six-yard box and Tomkins bravely stooped to head past De Gea with 11 minutes left.
What is so surprising is that it took that long for the Hammers to utilise the height of Carroll, who was starved of any crosses into the box.
In a frantic finale Carroll headed narrowly over and De Gea made a superb double save to deny Kouyate, before getting up quickly to beat away the rebound from Carroll. Kouyate’s header did find the net in the melee that followed, but it was ruled out by a narrow offside decision.
The result certainly eases the pressure on Louis van Gaal, but the Upton Park faithful will go home disappointed, as their team failed to replicate their display from the weekend.