Soccer-Man United book FA Cup semi-final berth with 3-1 win over Fulham

Soccer Football - FA Cup - Quarter-Final - Manchester United v Fulham - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - March 19, 2023 Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes scores their first goal from the penalty spot REUTERS/Carl Recine

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) -Bruno Fernandes scored twice to put Manchester United into the FA Cup semi-finals with a drama-filled 3-1 win over Fulham who had two players and manager Marco Silva sent off on Sunday.

Fulham appeared to be heading for their first FA Cup semi-final appearance since 2002 after Aleksandar Mitrovic opened the scoring in the 50th minute.

But Erik ten Hag's team roared back with a vengeance while the Cottagers unravelled in a frenzied stretch midway through the second half that started with Willian's red card for a handball after a VAR review.

"It was a clear and obvious handball... and I think we already should have been ahead," Ten Hag said.

A melee erupted and Mitrovic, who appeared to shove the referee with his shoulder, and Silva were also shown red cards.

Silva said his red was for leaving the coach's area, adding: "Up until the red card we were clearly the best team on the pitch."

Once order was restored, Fernandes's ensuing penalty put United on the scoreboard.

"(Fulham) had an opportunity and they blew it," former United captain Roy Keane said.


Two minutes later, Marcel Sabitzer put the 12-time FA Cup champions ahead with a backheel chip into the net off a cross from Luke Shaw.

Fernandes scored again for good measure seconds before the final whistle.

"It's a massive win," Sabitzer said. "We wanted to go back to Wembley and we did it.

Asked whether United won it or Fulham gave it away, Sabitzer said: "We won it. Why not? We scored three, they scored one. We were concentrated and focused; we came back and that's the important thing."

United will meet Brighton & Hove Albion -- who ended fourth-tier Grimsby Town's dream run in the cup with a 5-0 win earlier on Sunday -- in the April 22-23 semi-finals at Wembley Stadium.

Sheffield United came from behind to dispatch Blackburn Rovers 3-2 and will play Manchester City in the last four.

In his first season with United, Ten Hag has already captured the League Cup, while his club are in the quarter-finals of the Europa League and third in the Premier League heading into the international break.

"We are in a position to win trophies but we have to fight for it," the Dutchman said. "We need the whole squad. We've already played from Christmas on, every three or four days a game, and that will continue to the end of the season and that is what we love. It will give us energy."

United were missing Brazilian Casemiro who is serving a four-game suspension for a red card against Southampton last weekend.

(Reporting by Lori Ewing; editing by Clare Fallon)

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