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Bruno Fernandes scored twice as Manchester United secured an FA Cup semi-final place with a 3-1 win over nine-man Fulham, who spectacularly fell apart at Old Trafford.
The Cottagers appeared well on course for a first last-four appearance since 2002 when Aleksandar Mitrovic put them in front five minutes after the break.
But their hopes collapsed as the tie descended into chaos when Chris Kavanagh’s decision to award the hosts a penalty 18 minutes from time resulted in Willian and Mitrovic being sent off.
United capitalised on their numerical advantage as they completed a turnaround with Fernandes netting twice and Marcel Sabitzer also on target.
265 – There were just 265 seconds between Willian’s red card with the score 0-1 to Fulham, and Man Utd going 2-1 up with Fulham down to nine men. Calamitous. pic.twitter.com/6Lr121YP9G
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 19, 2023
Fulham had not beaten United in 15 attempts, but they made a positive start at Old Trafford.
David de Gea tipped over Issa Diop’s looping header, while those in the Stretford End breathed a huge sigh of relief when Tim Ream’s dangerous cross narrowly evaded his team-mates as it fizzed through the six-yard box.
At the other end, Wout Weghorst and Sabitzer shot straight at Bernd Leno, while a vital Ream block denied Scott McTominay in first-half stoppage time.
Fulham made another bright start to the second half. Antonee Robinson and Willian called De Gea into action before the visitors snatched the lead, Diop helping on Andreas Pereira’s corner for Mitrovic to tuck home.
But their hard work was undone as the tie descended into chaos.
After consulting VAR, and red-carding Fulham boss Marco Silva for his protests, Kavanagh sent off Willian for handling Jadon Sancho’s shot on the line, while Mitrovic followed for getting too physical with the official.
United took advantage with Fernandes rolling home the resulting penalty and, just two minutes later, Sabitzer cleverly turned in Luke Shaw’s cross.
Fernandes then secured the Red Devils’ record 31st FA Cup semi-final appearance when he fired past Leno in stoppage time.